Chapter One: Introduction
This chapter provides an introduction to and rationale for the study by highlighting the significant issues of biodiversity conservation in relation to rural communities in Africa generally and in Lesotho in particular. It draws on the undeniable nexus between biodiversity conservation and human well-being, the latter understood as multi-faceted, place-based and value-laden (Bennett et al., 2015: 78; Hausmann et al., 2016: 119). These are expressed and experienced in context and are usually situation-dependent, reflecting local social and personal factors such as geography, ecology, age, gender and culture (Gangaas et al., 2015: 44; Katz-Gerro and Orenstein, 2015: 6). In addition, it specifically underscores that the poor within these contexts are particularly vulnerable to adverse changes in biodiversity, which interact both with existing socio-economic development challenges as well as against the backdrop of climate change, and across scales (Müller et al., 2015: 71). Further, discussed in this chapter are the aims and objectives of the study. The chapter sequence, which highlights the main themes of each chapter, is also provided. The conclusion provides a summary of the salient points discussed in this chapter.
Multiple definitions of biodiversity have been provided since the introduction of the term in the 1980s. Two analogous definitions of biodiversity have been identified for the current study. Firstly, the Convention for Biological Diversity’s (CBD) definition is: “biodiversity is the variability among living organisms from all sources, including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part of; this includes diversity within species, between species, and of ecosystems” (CBD, 1991: 5 cited in de Oliveira et al., 2011: 1303). Secondly, Fischer et al. (2010: 475) add that “biodiversity comprises all scales of biological organisation, spanning intra-specific genetic, morphological and demographic diversity, species and community diversity, the diversity of biological interactions between organisms and the diversity of ecosystems in the landscape.” Saling et al. (2014: 1) assert that these definitions encompass all forms of life and their interactions in any given space and time.
To clarify further, the main elements highlighted in the above definition; variability and diversity are defined in this section. Feest et al. (2010: 1078) propose that variability can be clarified to include “a range of biodiversity-related indices” in order to simplify measurement. These indices include composition, richness, evenness, interactions, biomass, population and rarity/ intrinsic value (Harrison et al., 2013: 193). However, there is a new discourse which articulates the relationship between nature and society in the milieus of science, culture and economies (Fitzsimmons, 2017: 111). The position argued by Escobar (1998: 54) is adopted in this research and is further supported by Berttram (2011: 13) who underscores that the diversity of nature and the health of ecosystems are essential to issues such as food security and climate change. Resource-oriented activities accept the intervention of human society in nature but aim to regulate the exploitation of natural resources for long-term interest especially in third world countries (Escobar, 2006: 10). Ultimately, the challenges faced by nations to maintain human well-being in tandem with ecosystem integrity are also significant. In addition, the stances that inextricably combine ecosystems with livelihood in efforts to tackle poverty are advocated by several international agendas such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) and currently the SDGs. Together MDGs, SDGs and MEAs are designed to encourage countries to be uniform in engaging in time-specific targets for improvement of livelihood (Lee, 2014: 45; Van Alstine et al., 2013: 337). These are supported by the regulations of biodiversity, desertification, deforestation and climate which have been in place since the Rio Earth Summit on Environment and Development in 1992 (Martella and Smaczniak, 2013: 7). These have been the focus of conservation policy and practice in order to counter genetic variation, species extinction and ecosystem loss (Collen et al., 2013: 2). Although influencing the green agenda and with obvious disparities between the north and the south, three international agreements were reached during the summit: the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the CBD, and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) (Quental et al., 2011: 21).
According to these agreements, governments have taken the responsibility to protect the environment, and are therefore held accountable to standards of environmental protection (Mascia et al., 2014: 260 ). Over time, environmental conservation has come to be viewed as a basic principle, motivated by a rising conception that nature is a life-sustaining global ecosystem (Middleton, 2013: 61). Hence a global effort is necessary to control the use of genetic resources, therefore ensuring the health of humankind (Aronson and Alexander, 2013: 293; Seppelt et al., 2011: 632). Bisaro et al. (2010: 638) assert that in response to domestic environmental degradation, national initiatives at environmental conservation have escalated remarkably all over the world in the last decade. However, conservation is a difficult concept to promote because it is widely viewed as being in conflict with economic development (Doak et al., 2014: 78; Blignaut et al., 2013: 99; Angassa et al., 2012: 73; Fischer et al., 2012: 2). With large and growing populations (mainly in developing countries) and associated poverty levels, economic development is, however, a necessity. The challenge lies in promoting a balance between conservation and socio-economic demands. A balance may be achieved by using conservation to socio-economic demands with developmental goals (Van Wilgen and Mcgeoch, 2015: 253). This may entail receiving the commitment of communities to participate in natural resource management. This commitment is nevertheless reliant on several factors such as levels of involvement in decision-making, access to natural resources and incentives offered (Heller and Hobbs, 2013: 699; Tesfaye et al., 2012: 246). The next section discusses the rationale for this study.
1.2. Rationale for the Study
The undertaking to preserve the earth’s natural systems began in Stockholm in 1987 with the release of the Brundtland report underscoring the concept of sustainable development, which was reinforced at the Rio Earth Summit on Environment and Development in 1992. Sustainable development recognises that conservation and development are inextricably linked, balancing ecological and development considerations (Lorek and Fuchs, 2013: 40). Global studies such as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment-MEA (conducted between 2001 and 2005) have highlighted the critical role played by ecosystem services in supporting human lives and livelihood (MEA, 2005: v). In addition, it is recognised that biodiversity conservation and maintaining ecosystem integrity was fundamental to achieving the MDGs, “which are respected as a framework for sustainable development” (Lucas et al., 2013: 195; Poppy et al., 2014: 2). Similar, but on a more globalised level, the SDGs aim to achieve substantial results.
Yet, despite over 20 years of international commitment to biodiversity conservation, solutions that both conserve biodiversity and promote human well-being are difficult to realise (Carrière et al., 2013: 6). Countries continue to strive for the integration of changing community values and lifestyles (Hicks et al., 2015: 1472). This is necessary in order to complement efforts of integrating conservation with development assistance, cross-sector policies and engagement of the private sector (Rueff et al., 2015: 88, Gillingham and Johnson, 2016: 59). These may be categorised into a range of drivers of biodiversity degradation (Dimobe et al., 2015: 460). According to the Drivers-Pressures-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) framework, these drivers can alternatively be classified into drivers and pressures, where indirect drivers are the exogenous (originating from outside) factors leading to ecosystem change (Rounsevell, 2010: 2826). Pressures are direct drivers which play an endogenous (originate from within) role in ecosystem change (Martin et al., 2016: 416). Nelson and Stathers (2009: 84), for example, highlight the impacts of population and consumption, worsened by climate change. Costelloe et al. (2016: 17) draw attention to biodiversity losses enhanced by existing policies and sectoral policies in particular. Indirect drivers can influence one or more direct drivers, thus exerting unnecessary pressure on the ecosystem and altering ecosystem services (United Nations Environment Programme – UNEP, 2010: 10). In addition, poorly planned and executed conservation strategies, coupled with these drivers, have exacerbated efforts to conserve biodiversity in a significant way (McShane et al., 2011: 966).
The MEA (2005: 73) highlights the impacts of degrading ecosystem services as being borne disproportionately by the poor, exacerbating their vulnerability and inciting social conflict. Pricope et al. (2013: 1526) affirm that rural communities continue to be “significantly affected” by degraded natural resources as they lack basic services and adaptation mechanisms to cope with changes. Much of the rural workforce in Africa is engaged in climate-sensitive primary sector activities which are greatly jeopardised by resource degradation due to climate change and anthropogenic causes (Ford et al., 2014: 10). Climate-sensitive activities such as agriculture, livestock and forestry sectors are likely to be adversely affected in the event that climate change adaptation measures are not sufficiently spelt out and implemented for Africa (Nhemachena, 2014: 2050). Several African countries rely on climate-sensitive sectors, for example, Ghana, Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia, which have been especially affected by climate change (Obirih-Opareh and Onumah, 2014: 117). Opportunities to affect climate variability within these various sectors are presently being missed in Africa (Dinku et al., 2014: 2).
Designing projects to be more flexible and robust prepares sectors to be more adaptable to the unpredictable nature of climate change (Wagner et al., 2014: 8). An example would be to switch to heat-tolerant crops or drought-resistant crops in order to improve crop variety for Africa (Hachigonta et al., 2013: 3). It is increasingly recognised that vulnerability is closely intertwined with gender, and specifically the livelihood of women who are both low-income takers (or less stable earners) in primary sector employment (Carr and Thompson, 2014: 183) as well as the majority in the second economy (often unpaid work carried out by women) (Ajibade et al., 2013: 1716).
The state and management of ecosystem services are central to poverty reduction, which is particularly pronounced in sub-Saharan Africa (Yang et al., 2013: 2). Africa is richly endowed with biodiversity (Linder et al., 2012: 1190), and the recognition of the geographical association between human poverty and wealth of biodiversity necessitates management strategies that promote the well-being of local people while simultaneously halting the destruction of ecosystems (McShane et al., 2011: 966). It is imperative to investigate if such recognition would require fundamental changes to policies, institutions and practices (Fisher et al., 2014: 36). While further bearing in mind that the increasing demand for biodiversity has necessitated negotiating trade-offs between human well-being and biodiversity conservation (Zhen et al., 2014: 86). McShane et al. (2011: 966) earlier coined other conservation specific dimensions to the notion of trade-offs; those that exist not only between poverty and biodiversity conservation goals but also between conservation and other economic, political and social goals across multiple scales. The authors further argue that negotiating trade-offs may be crucial in meeting the parallel objectives of conservation and development and hence may become (McShane et al., 2011: 966):
…difficult because social problems – of which conservation is one – can be perceived and understood in a variety of disparate ways, influenced (in part at least) by how people are raised and educated, their life experiences, and the options they have faced. Pre-existing assumptions about the ‘right’ approach to conservation often obscure important differences in both power and understanding and can limit the success of policy and programmatic interventions.
Several scholars (Ferraro and Hanauer, 2014: 4335; Minteer and Miller, 2011: 945) concur that biodiversity conservation through protected areas (PAs) has historically followed a protectionist approach which viewed people as external to nature, with the former considered a threat to the latter. This served to reinforce privilege on the one hand and lack of access to natural resources and alienation of communities from their land on the other and hence requires a revision of the current methods and strategies of protectionist approaches (Fisher et al., 2014: 147). There is a consensus that many PAs, have been driven by a colonial political ecology rather than based on any substantive ecological criteria (Celata and Sanna, 2012: 979).
The impacts of over 50 years of conservation strategies have recently been challenged on the grounds of (but not limited to) human rights, access to natural resources, equity, conservation value, the role of external influences and environmental sustainability. Heinen (2012) and McShane et al., (2011) underscore the need to consider both science and society’s values regarding biodiversity and ecosystem services and include applicable policies and strategies for biodiversity, relevant scientific information and stakeholder involvement (by incorporating their values). These are some of the values, which may be able to guide conservation initiatives in Africa and in particular, Lesotho. New conservation debates challenge conservation strategies to be “explicit about losses, costs, and hard choices so they can be openly discussed and honestly negotiated” (McShane et al., 2011: 966). The authors argue that a failure to adhere to transparency and equity could result in unrealised expectations and/ or unresolved conflicts (McShane et al., 2011: 966).
1.3 Biodiversity Conservation Strategies
“A conservation strategy is a broad course of action intended to achieve a specific objective (that is, outcome) that abates a threat or enhances the viability of a conservation target” (The Nature Conservancy, 2003: 2). The main issue in designing conservation strategies is outlining expected outcomes, and how to achieve them (Acevedo et al., 2015: 1593; Sarukhán et al., 2015: 168). Conservation strategies have three fundamental components: objectives, strategic actions and action steps (Tulloch et al., 2015: 97). The design of these components appears to be crucial in fully understanding current community issues and the expected outcomes thereof.
Different conservation strategies yield different results and these are usually dependent on the value attached to given natural resources and the importance attached to their conservation (Ebua et al., 2011: 634). The value attached to biodiversity in terms of the services offered by various ecosystems, for example, differ for both communities and policy-makers and this plays an important role in conservation strategy outcomes (García-Llorente et al., 2016: 19). Evidence suggests a direct link between poor natural resource management, land degradation, poor harvest and ultimately lack of subsistence for communities both as cause and effect (Barbier et al., 2016: 420). Rural communities depend on natural resources such as soil, water and biodiversity that support their lives as much as they do on the more tangible assets of money and property (Anderson et al., 2015: 52; Nakakaawa et al., 2015: 6). Apart from financial implications, conservation needs communities, stakeholders and the public’s acceptance (Schindler et al., 2011: 379). Having long been the agents of natural resource management in their regions, rural communities have appeared to be unable to manage biological resources as effectively as they used to. Genuine participation of local communities in conservation initiatives promotes equality and empowerment (Méndez-López et al., 2014: 322). Furthermore, community inclusion in decision-making processes provides knowledge and information required to manage and conserve biodiversity, through the inclusion of indigenous knowledge systems (Daldeniz and Hampton, 2013: 512; Pelser and Letsela, 2012: 47). This action is envisioned to shape community perceptions and attitudes which are relevant to the sustainability of conservation strategies, thus the move from exclusionist strategies to participatory and inclusive approaches post-1980 (Young et al., 2013: 367). In order to improve livelihoods, governments are employing strategies that integrate biodiversity conservation with community development hence the formulation of Community-Based Conservation (CBC) strategies (Karanth and Nepal, 2012: 373). Commonly, African governments have, over the years, implemented CBC in the form of debt-for-nature swaps, extractive reserves, Integrated Conservation and Development Projects (ICDPs), Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) and Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) initiatives. These are discussed in detail in Chapter 3.
Distinctively, CBC can be based on commercialisation of natural resources in the form of eco-tourism or on the protection of common pool biodiversity for livelihood sources such as fishing, forests, water sources, agricultural land and rangeland or a combination of the two types of management (Brooks et al., 2013: 30; Dyer et al., 2014: 140). The common element of these several strategies is the financial and technical commitment by government and other authorities and the inclusion of local communities in decision-making processes (Tesfaye et al., 2012: 246). Several CBC strategies adopted in various parts of the world have been assessed through stakeholder perceptions in order to advise the way forward for conservation policy in developing regions (Berttram, 2011: 29; Hibbard and Lurie, 2011: 9). The basic premise of CBC is that biodiversity conservation and community development should be viewed as interrelated and equally important objectives (Mikulcak et al., 2014: 319). Gardner et al. (2013: 1290), Gore and Kahler (2012: 1) and Ingram et al. (2014:19) assert that for conservation projects to be successful there has to be a direct link between conservation and community development. Although still a challenge to merge the two objectives, several studies have shown that in areas where conservation and community development have been treated separately, projects of such nature have rarely succeeded (Chandra and Idrisova, 2011: 3305).
Communities who benefit from conservation of natural areas show more local support and consequently safeguard the success of such projects (Sinclair et al., 2011: 42). Several studies have confirmed that in those areas where local people have derived benefits and were consulted about conservation plans, success has been high (Amri and Kimaro, 2010: 367; Torri, 2013: 4). These are circumstances where local knowledge, culture and the needs of communities are incorporated into project plans through continuous consultations (Mfunda and Røskaft, 2011: 683). In the presence of an appropriate implementation guide, it becomes possible to develop criterion that outlines factors that can prove essential to measure and judge the success of conservation strategies (Ebua et al., 2011: 631). However, the current study highlights how community perceptions and attitudes towards biodiversity loss may, to a significant extent, offer judgements on the success or failure of biodiversity conservation strategies.
There are common perceived fundamental issues to be taken into consideration in order to achieve successful conservation strategies (Claus et al., 2010: 268). These include initiatives that support community values and embrace local knowledge and culture. Transparent open processes establish strong partnerships with stakeholders from very early in the process and are perceived to promote trust (Gruber, 2011: 168). In the same manner, relinquishing the power and rights to biodiversity conservation benefits from non-governmental organisations (NGO), government and the private sector to the communities is an advantage (Measham and Lumbasi, 2013: 654).
In recent decades, the CBNRM conservation strategy has widely been accepted as the possibility for improved conservation in tandem with improved human well-being (Suich, 2013: 444). CBNRM is defined as the “management of resources such as land, forests, wildlife, and water by collective local institutions of local benefit” (Chandra and Idrisova, 2011: 3304). The general strategy of CBNRM has been globally adopted for biodiversity conservation of common pool resources (Lyons, 2013: 470). Role players in CBNRM can include communities, facilitators, external investors, policy-makers, consultants, researchers, field workers and donor agencies and the design of conservation strategies depends largely on synergies among these different role players (Fabricius et al., 2013: 272; Shackleton et al., 2010: 3). Lack of coordination among role players results in weak institutional settings for effective conservation strategies (Young and Sing’oei, 2011: 21).
The rationale for this study lies in the need for Lesotho to be able to identify with several conservation strategies challenges discussed in this section. The preparation for effective conservation strategies in Lesotho began with informed debates based on the observed characteristics of different community set-ups and conservation strategies. This was also supplemented by a discussion on the necessary financial, political, social and economic requirements to effectively balance conservation with social and development goals. A background in biodiversity conservation in Lesotho is discussed in the following section.
1.4 Biodiversity Conservation in Lesotho
Formal debates on the state of biodiversity conservation in Lesotho began in the late 1980s when bilateral deliberations were held between the government and international organisations. The ratification of the CBD actively enforced the role of Lesotho in the on-going global discussion of environmental protection and community development (Lesotho, 2012: 4). According to the fourth report on the CBD in Lesotho, biodiversity conservation is still a major challenge and an enormous task to fulfil (Lesotho, 2009: ix). Biodiversity changes in Lesotho are marked by apparent changes in flora and fauna; and over the past two hundred (200) years, Lesotho has experienced an unprecedented loss of its fauna and flora (Morake, 2010: 124). Several ecosystems such as marshes and spring bogs have vanished (Lesotho, 2002: 61). Lesotho’s State of the Environment reports, which are supposedly produced every four years, indicates that the environment continues to deteriorate. The subsequent report for 2013 was never produced, marking just one of the challenges that biodiversity conservation faces within the country of Lesotho. Furthermore, Lesotho is faced with major limitations of land availability and quality. It has a rough terrain that is characterised by deep slopes and deep gorges, it is prone to frequent droughts and has poor soils (Mayet et al., 2016: 329; Kopij., 2015: 322). Communities have their own perceptions of the loss of biodiversity and these are explored in the current study.
A series of conservation strategies with various post-implementation controls and measures have been implemented in Lesotho (Rantšo, 2016: 326), but despite continued and prolonged efforts to combat biodiversity degradation, Lesotho continues to display extensive degradation of its natural resources and biodiversity (Wikle, 2015: 83). This study contributes to the on-going research being conducted to assess the initiatives of biodiversity protection in Lesotho. Recently, a study was conducted to investigate a sustainability assessment framework for the Maluti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Project (MDTP), with the objective of making available guidelines to assist decision-makers on the use of biodiversity resources with similar projects (Letsela, 2008: 31). The current study makes a contribution by investigating the components that affect policy formulation and implementation of biodiversity conservation strategies. Policy documents pertaining to biodiversity conservation and natural resource management were studied for this purpose. The main principles of each policy document clarify the contribution towards biodiversity conservation and community development.
In this climate where developing countries receive funding from multinational corporations and developed nations for projects, many developing countries in southern Africa such as Lesotho appear not to be doing enough in adhering to the mandates of various projects (Scheba, 2016: 552). This is especially true for conservation strategies which are an unlikely umbrella for funding request for projects which usually run parallel to biodiversity conservation (Amin, 2016: 189). This is explored by assessing the literature for various conservation strategies undertaken globally but with the main focus on Africa. The focus was also on the two selected conservation strategies undertaken in Lesotho and assesses whether these are proving successful or as challenging as other historic efforts embarked on in Lesotho. This thesis also sought to explore the social construction of nature within Lesotho communities. The hierarchy of resource use and therefore the importance of certain resources to communities through the construct of various elements such as gender, age, marital status and family income are explored throughout this thesis. This thesis, therefore, highlights the role played by community attitudes and perceptions towards conservation strategies. There is a lack of understanding about the effects this may have on the success or failure of conservation strategies. There seems to be limited understanding about how household and community activities can mould perceptions towards biodiversity conservation. The significance of community perceptions about ecological resource availability and the causes for the decline cannot be ignored hence this thesis brings these issues to light.
1.5 Aim of the study
The aim of the study is to assess the status and implications of strategies of biodiversity conservation in Lesotho with a specific focus on community perceptions.
The study has the following objectives:
a. To conduct a policy review in relation to current biodiversity conservation strategies in Lesotho.
The government of Lesotho is currently in the process of reviewing sectoral strategies in relation to the poverty-biodiversity nexus, in conjunction with the necessary institutional restructuring. This objective aids in identifying conservation gaps which, it is envisaged, can then feed into appropriate policy recommendations.
b. To assess the main types of conservation strategies adopted for biodiversity conservation.
By analysing the main types of biodiversity conservation strategies and perceptions of communities, this objective explores the possibility to design a sustainability framework and criteria which would guide policy in addressing issues of poverty and apply effective and sustainable biodiversity conservation strategies (presented in Chapter 7).
c. To determine the status of biodiversity through spatial analysis and community feedback.
This objective focuses on the underlying factors of the definition and significance of biodiversity conservation and degradation. It offers opportunities for addressing future biodiversity challenges for communities and conservation strategies.
d. To establish the underlying gendered perceptions of communities about the challenges and benefits of biodiversity strategies.
Gender relations of conservation initiatives are analysed to determine the way biodiversity gains and/ or losses accrue differently to men and women and the implications they have for conservation.
e. To identify community-management partnerships options in biodiversity conservation in Lesotho.
Lesotho has a communal land ownership system and this requires extensive consultation before and after the implementation of any programme. This objective seeks to explore the wide range of stakeholders involved in natural resource management (government, donor communities, legal instruments and local communities), and the perceptions they hold towards these natural resources and present challenges in the implementation of conservation programmes.
1.7 Chapter sequence
The thesis is divided into seven chapters. Following Chapter One, Chapter Two discusses the conceptual framework that guides and acts as a basis for this study. Two conceptual and theoretical frameworks are explored: political ecology and stakeholder participation for CBC. These theoretical frameworks explore the politics of inequality and institutional structures in biodiversity conservation as well the levels and forms of stakeholder participation. Chapter Three presents the literature review in relation to the key research questions of the study and similar concepts that have been investigated globally. Chapter Four reviews literature concerning conservation and development with a specific focus on Lesotho. Chapter Five presents the methodological approach of the study, giving an account of the instruments used in order to meet each objective stated above. A full description of the study areas is also presented in this chapter. Chapter Six provides the analysis and discussion of the findings while integrating appropriate literature to complement interpretation of the findings. Lastly, Chapter Seven offers conclusions by summarising key factors and findings in the study. General observations about the critical issues that are significant for each conservation strategy are presented and from these recommendations are offered.
In this chapter, an introduction of the salient features explored in this study was provided. These include the provision of definitions of biodiversity which are in line with the purpose of this study. Biodiversity conservation in Africa gained acceptance post-1980s, and nations were seen to engage in more community inclusive conservation strategies. International agreements have accelerated commitments by African governments to conserve biodiversity and improve rural community livelihoods in the process. Gender issues, community livelihoods, culture and knowledge have become the core focus of several conservation strategies. These issues have been captured in the rationale as well as the aim and objectives of the study.
The discussion has included the introduction of similar issues in Lesotho with evidence from studies suggesting that past conservation strategies have failed due to factors such as lack of access to land resources, selective participation, ignorance in incorporating indigenous knowledge and strategies having conservation measures that are contradictory. These may also include issues such as failure to learn from past initiatives and top-down approaches that are disguised as bottom-up with disregard for community conservation needs. The roles of science, tradition and culture have been highlighted to understand how they influence the nature of policy formulation and adoption of conservation strategies. To end, the chapter has provided a chapter sequence for the rest of the thesis. The following chapter discusses concepts and theories informing this study.
Chapter Two: Theoretical Framework
This chapter discusses the theoretical framework for the design of this study, comprising a combination of political ecology and stakeholder participation theories. Both theories reflect the relationships that determine the success and failure of community integration in conservation and development strategies. Several authors (Beever et al., 2014: 310; Méndez-López et al., 2014: 320; McAlpine et al., 2013: 24; Kareiva and Marvier, 2012) emphasise that dialogue on biodiversity and resource management necessitates critical discussion on conservation science (and related fields), sustainable development and benefits sharing. Forsyth (2013: 15) states that science influences definitions of biodiversity, which impacts what is considered important and therefore how it is managed. In addition, Gustafsson (2013: 50) adds that the biodiversity discourse has helped craft an extensive range of institutional tools for the constant exchange of knowledge. Under the umbrella of natural resource management, biodiversity conservation is directly linked to subjects of conservation science, sustainable development and various instruments of benefit sharing (Hage et al., 2010: 257). Within these subjects, the use of scientific disciplines and traditional knowledge is emphasised.
The above issues are based on the foundation that biodiversity conservation is embedded heavily in the ‘construction of nature’ through cultural and ecological processes in several parts of the world (Khan, 2013: 564). Nature is socially constructed and communities utilise biodiversity according to different gender, cultural and ecological processes (Lawhon, 2013: 134). Through different perceptions and attitudes, the utilisation of nature by communities defines social-environmental conflicts and the ability to conserve biodiversity and share benefits (Ebua et al., 2012: 631).
The theoretical frameworks guiding this research give emphasis to a three-dimensional approach to conservation strategies: ecosystem viability, community viability and the role of external elements. External elements include economic factors, ecological conditions, cultural meanings, the definition of practices as well as ecological, technological and economic variables. This thesis is conceptualised through the theory of political ecology, which underscores the necessity for environmental science to acknowledge the manner in which it is shaped by social and political factors. This will guide the exploration by environmental scientists into the interaction between science and society in order to produce accurate knowledge about biodiversity conservation (Turnhout, 2013: 460). Inability to do this undermines the objective of science to address the fundamental factors leading to socio-environmental problems (Kahler et al., 2013: 179). Emphasis is placed on both conservation and the welfare of communities.
This chapter reflects on the emergence of multiple theoretical and conceptual principles for biodiversity conservation. Highlighted in this chapter are the consequences of biodiversity conservation, which subject users to land use restrictions and conflicts regarding user rights (Ervine, 2011: 72). The theory of stakeholder participation is also discussed, underpinning the understanding of community power dynamics, including gender and culture in the design and implementation of sustainable conservation strategies.
2.2 Significance of a Theoretical Framework for Biodiversity Conservation
A theoretical framework lays a foundation for research, providing a structure for the support and theory for the study. A theoretical framework should be seen to answer two fundamental questions (Ocholla and Roux, 2011: 1):
• What is the problem that the researcher sets out to investigate and answer?
• Why is the specific approach a realistic or feasible solution to the problem?
Subsequently, a theoretical framework guides research in identifying variables that can be studied and the relationships guiding these variables, thus connecting these variables to the research questions. It provides direction for the study, unveils conceptual and operational definitions and also guides the kind of data to be collected (Adams et al., 2014: 40). Furthermore, a theoretical framework helps a researcher frame the problem for the study and synthesise the knowledge base from past studies thus supporting the need for the study. In addition, theoretical frameworks link themselves to the implications of the findings and recommendations for future research by connecting the research to enhance existing knowledge (Yin, 2014: 38).
Applying multiple theories to a research problem highlights both the desirable and undesirable characteristics of each theory, within a particular context. In terms of the latter, environmental conditions (both physical and human) are diverse and dynamic, with complex interactions and thus do not lend themselves to pre-defined categories (Scheiter et al., 2013: 957).
These theories explain changing economic and political conditions. Sustainability in natural resources management has to be socially just, economically viable and ecologically sound (Harris and Roach, 2013: 42). Figure 2.1 represents the interface of complex factors in an attempt to achieve sustainability in natural resources management.?
Figure 2.1 represents cultural, economic and technological contextual synergies supporting conservation and development through the combined use of science and policy. Natural resource characteristics refer to the types, services, uses, stresses and disturbance regimes that require an array of management responses answering to each unique context (Ringold et al., 2013: 98). These interact with governments, NGOs, citizens and resource users who are chosen from various conservation strategies but may be limited by information availability, technology and access to funding and other resources (Hage et al., 2010: 256). These are represented by the second pillar of social actors, who can be drivers or victims of change by varying circumstances.
Governance and participation are the third pillars and these encompass institutions and policies for natural resources management. These can affect the contribution stakeholders make to the sustainable use and management of resources (Kothari et al., 2013: 2). Politics, the fourth pillar influence policies and institutions and determine the enabling environment for the functioning of both (Braunisch et al., 2012: 205). Information exchange, the fifth pillar, empowers social actors and affects politics, thus shaping the outcome of conservation initiatives (Cavalcanti et al., 2010: 615). Finally, economics in the form of formal and informal markets, international investments and financial status impact on trade-offs that are made between conservation and development (Romero et al., 2012: 5).
Biodiversity conservation and human societies inadvertently affect one another. In order to conserve biodiversity, there has to be integration between conservation and human activities (Jepson et al., 2011: 230). Recently, conservation strategies have been actively focusing on policies, institutional capacity, stakeholder participation and management of strategies (Sinclair et al., 2011: 43). Within these activities, there are trade-offs in the form of provision of sanitation services, alternative fuel sources, food production mechanisms and controlled biodiversity use (Halpern et al., 2013: 6230). States are obliged to base conservation efforts on strategies which will provide economic benefits for local communities while also attempting to integrate conservation initiatives with multiple sector policies (Goldman, 2011: 6). At local levels, attempts to address environmental problems have been observed in ecological protection strategies of individual countries (Givoni et al., 2013: 18). Countries which have truncated mitigation and adaptation strategies run the risk of perpetuating inappropriate conservation measures for extended periods of time ( Pettersson and Keskitalo, 2013: 2119).
2.3 Political Ecology
According to Peterson (2000: 324), political ecology is “an approach that combines the concerns of ecology and political economy to represent an ever-changing dynamic tension between ecological and human change, and between diverse groups within society at scales from the local individual to the earth as a whole”. Political ecology emerged as a convergence of multiple theories including political economy and ecological economic theories where government institutions and entrepreneurs control the use of resources and where administration and political authority are highlighted (Batterbury, 2015: 36). The extension into environmental discourses was brought about by debates of rights and access to resources and how ecosystem services would best benefit communities (Fabinyi et al., 2014: 5). These society-environment relationships are now studied through the theory of political ecology (Kull et al., 2015: 131). To support this theory, Hage et al., (2010: 256) highlights the differences in the construct of nature by third world countries, emphasised in this current study.
Political ecology embraces the relationship of how nature and the politics of environmental action are perceived. The concept of political ecology assesses issues of institutional capacity and environmental policy and the perceptions of communities about those issues (Penna-Firme, 2013: 200). Among other factors, global ideologies of sustainable development in developing countries, the relationship between biodiversity conservation and the distribution of rights and power can be reviewed using the concept of political ecology (Fabinyi et al., 2014: 4).
Multi-scale drivers such as politics, culture, gender, social and economic factors uncover uneven power dynamics and relationships between communities and stakeholder institutions (Whitfield and Reed, 2012: 2). Policies and actions of national governments, donors and large corporations are all environmentally significant. It is essential to realise that local communities are usually not the only agents of biodiversity degradation and the context of each agent has to be established in order to apply solutions (Reyes-García et al., 2014: 283). When consideration is given to all these issues, it is possible to improve policy design and ensure ecosystem and community viability ( Dyer et al., 2014: 138).
In addition, political ecology studies have also highlighted the costs and benefits of conservation as well as the social impacts and rights of people in environmental management (Schaafsma et al., 2014: 296). It specifically explores the impacts of biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction, and the level of inclusivity of stakeholders in such decisions. Several conservation strategies affect communities in various ways. The logic, dynamics and patterns of how the economy affects politics of environmental action and the outcomes of those actions are understood through the umbrella of political ecology (Pincetl, 2012: S34). According to the theory of political ecology, there is a very clear relationship between social and environmental conditions. Political ecology is to a large extent intertwined explicitly in conservation policy and implications of such policy on communities (Forsyth, 2013: 43). Franklin (2004: 2) argues that:?
Political ecology does not constitute a coherent theory but conforms to a specific mode of enquiry that identifies contextual sources of ecological change, questions of access and political ramifications of environmental alteration. Important are the social origins of degradation, the plurality of perceptions and definitions of ecological problems.
The spatial and temporal characteristics of the availability of ecological services are also central to nature-society interactions within political ecology as these dictate the alternatives that are available to communities (McCluney et al., 2014: 56). The management, services, politics and economics of ecosystems are shaped by these alternatives and the dynamic nature of ecosystems implies that constraints which include climate change, species migration, population fluctuation, rivers changing their course, and diseases; change over time and continue to shape the availability of ecological services to communities (Tadesse et al., 2014: 153).
The theory of political ecology focuses on several factors. These include access to and control over resources, marginalisation, integration of scales of analysis, the effects of integration into international markets, the significance of livelihood issues and land tenure (Grossberg, 2014: 103; Milton, 2013: 45). The importance of local histories, culture, the effects of limited state capacity as well as colonial and postcolonial legacies may also be of significance (von Heland and Folke, 2014: 263).
Access to grazing, hunting and cultivation, for example, have immensely shaped the understanding and interpretation of livelihood challenges of communities in southern Africa (Galaty, 2013: 150). Access to resources and the problems associated with conservation strategies are a key focus in several political studies in many parts of Africa. The plight of local communities relocated from protected lands was especially the point of focus, as in the case of the Masebe National Park, Limpopo Province of South Africa (Boonzaaier, 2012: 1). This resulted in livelihoods being deemed illegal and where communities had to hide century old activities in an attempt not to openly break the law (Andrade and Rhodes, 2012: 4). Similarly, the Maasai of Kenya and Tanzania were prohibited from practising nomadic pastoralism in an area which had been declared a PA, namely, the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area, respectively (Keiper and Rugira, 2013: 19). Alternatively, as is the case in Namibia, the policy implemented involves entrusting conservation and management rights to communities resulting in the success of the conservation strategies adopted (Boudreaux, 2011: 17). The integration of multi-sector policies in relation to rural areas, in particular, is vital in protecting the rights of rural communities (Ravera et al., 2014: 16). For example, communities around PAs usually associate the establishment of such spaces with the essential value that comes with the jobs which may be created, the changes brought by such jobs and the duration and sustainability of jobs (Daim et al., 2012: 212).
Cundill et al. (2013: 176) highlight another aspect; that of the management of and benefit sharing from funds accrued through PAs, particularly corruption where funds are concerned. In cases where benefit sharing has been compromised, community reaction has been one of hostility towards conservation strategies (Strickland-Munro and Moore, 2013: 35). Olanya (2013: 23) cautions that community aggression towards PAs is frequently explained as community disinterest in biodiversity conservation initiatives. The role played by power, economy and politics in environmental management are examined through the lens of political ecology by exploring multi-level connections ranging from global and trickling down to local environmental actions (Dryzek, 2013: 86). External forces, which can either be social, economic or political, generally play a part in integrated and community-based conservation projects. These usually originate far from local communities and they have to be addressed simultaneously to maintain ecosystem and community viability (Lewis et al., 2013: 229).
As mentioned in Chapter One, drivers of change, whether indirect or not, shape how communities respond to environmental changes as outlined in the DPSIR framework. There are forces, which necessitate the identification of pressures and drivers of environmental degradation and are vital in addressing environmental change. These cannot, however, be addressed exclusively (Lach, 2014: 90). The state, impacts and responses to environmental change are equally significant (Nayak et al., 2014: 5). The multidimensional, spatial and temporal relations within communities and between communities affect, to a large extent, human well-being and development (Sartorius et al., 2013: 119). The DPSIR framework assists in recognising interrelations between different influences including indigenous knowledge, national and global political economies and ecosystems (Hodbod and Adger, 2014: 229). For example, the inclusion of local knowledge and community views and perceptions of communities about resource use have increased chances of conservation initiatives succeeding (Romero et al., 2012: 3).
One of the main concepts of the political ecology approach is the marginalisation of communities or groups within communities and these are discussed in the next section. Accordingly, the task of biodiversity conservation lies in the hands of all community stakeholders including community councils. These initiatives are governed to a large extent by attitudes of community members and how they are willing to participate and share responsibility with concerned authorities (Bennett and Dearden, 2014: 107). Ultimately, community perceptions and attributes are moulded by policy and politics and these further frame the authenticity of community dedication to conservation and development (Gandiwa et al., 2014: 479). For this thesis, these complex causal relationships between social impacts and ecological integrity are assessed through political ecology and stakeholder theories.
2.3.1 Political Ecology of Marginalisation
Marginalisation is one of the core concepts for the study of political ecology. It is significant in this research to study how communities around and close to conservation areas have been affected by the conservation strategies selected for this study. Less powerful communities and groups in society are led into non-productive landscapes, constricting their livelihood and their abilities when introducing biodiversity conservation strategies (Paniagua et al., 2014: 673). This inadvertently shapes the kind of conflicts that can occur over ecological resources and their services, such as those over rights, access and benefits. This argument is supported by Homer-Dixon (2011: 3) who sees a very strong link between high population and scarcity of resources. This is further affirmed by Schilling et al. (2016: 67) who highlight the significance of proper management of resources in highly populated areas. The concept of common pool resources is closely associated with political ecology and marginalisation of communities. Globally, the commons are under threat and reclaiming the commons by communities is also seen as the solution to problems of resource access (Winter et al., 2015: 1219). The narrative of the Tragedy of the Commons (Hardin, 2009: 243) guides solutions to climate change and food security. According to the idea created by Hardin, privatisation of the cost of climate change could easily see the problem solved. This commercialisation of the problem does not, however, simply translate into benefits for other users and thus fails to impact positively on food security for the poor (Patt, 2017: 2). As will be seen in Chapter Three, climate change continues to affect health, food production and availability of water globally. As a common pool resource, the global society continues to stress the need for effective accountability for the cost of any negative impacts on the climate. However, unlike for other common property resources, mitigation for the impacts of climate change remains complex. Exclusion could easily lead to the marginalisation of vulnerable members of society.
Other arguments support the idea that marginalisation is caused by oppressive political economic processes (Torri, 2013: 16). It is usually assumed that increasing participation, using local knowledge and strategies such as CBC increases the probability of success, but these may not strictly guarantee non-marginalisation of local populations (Alves et al., 2013: 119; Quinn et al., 2011: 14). Unsuitable conservation strategies lead to maladaptation, and this creates communities which are even more vulnerable, especially in strict protectionist approaches such as PAs (Bele et al., 2013: 11). For example, having initially been expelled from their homes, community members such as those in Zimbabwe usually return to their original areas of residence, where they either re-establish themselves on Park edges (Guerbois et al., 2013: 852). This is usually brought about by mismatches between policy and anticipated community opportunities (Guerbois et al., 2013: 848).
Historical foundations of biodiversity degradation are key to realising the political impacts of environmental change and identifying issues of social marginalisation (Ban et al., 2013: 199). CBC strategies are intended to contribute to both biodiversity conservation and improving the livelihood of local populations (McCauley et al., 2013:140). Changes in land use rights, forestry and access to water laws, for example, could in the long-run result in food insecurity (Kepe and Tessaro, 2014: 273). On the other hand, Verburg et al. (2013: 501) indicate that favouring land tenure rather than individual family units has served as a mitigation measure to enhance food security.
Stakeholder inclusivity in formulating criteria for integration into policy and participative perspectives allow for adaptive management and also involves stakeholders for monitoring and evaluating projects (Rai and Bawa, 2013: 427). Adaptive management is an approach that allows for flexibility and adaptability of multiple perceptions at different scales of biodiversity conservation (Rist et al., 2013: 14). It is underpinned by continual learning through failures and correcting them for future natural resources management policy and implementation (Gain et al., 2013: 15). Adaptive management reduces people and project vulnerability and these can be done by including the interests of socially vulnerable groups in decision-making (Seng, 2012: 8).
Where local knowledge, culture and rights to livelihood of communities have been built into project plans through continuous consultations; the projects have yielded positive results to conservation and development initiatives (Taylor and de Loë, 2012: 1209). Discussions during community consultations present windows of opportunity which can be used during the implementation of conservation initiatives (Kieti et al., 2013: 201). These can be used as a guide in developing criteria that outline factors that can prove essential to measure and judge the success of conservation initiatives. Marginalisation also comes in the form of information deficit in cases where communities are uninformed about settlement displacements (Zakar et al., 2014: 11). Livelihood coping strategies are rarely provided to communities before or after being evicted from their usual places of residence (Berman et al., 2015: 83). This was the case in Uluguru National Park in Morogoro, Tanzania, thus resulting in low resilience and adaptability after the disturbance of communities’ livelihoods (Nyenza et al., 2013: 201). The construction of communities is skewed and this gives rise to the role of gender in maintaining resilience within communities.
2.3.2 Political Ecology of Gender
The political presence of women in communities is generally low (Ryan and woods, 2019: 416). The structures of local organisations and institutions have historically been perceived as male spaces (Crane, 2010: 9). This trend is, however, changing and women are beginning to get recognition in mobilising participation in environmental resource management (Mawere and Mubaya, 2012: 96). The collaborative, functional and transformative nature of consultation requires the participation of all groups in society in order to overcome both external and internal issues (Conrad and Hilchey, 2011: 276).
Society needs to overcome issues such as gender bias in order to manage community vulnerability and resilience to socio-ecological changes brought by conservation initiatives (Bennett et al., 2013: iv). Women in various African communities are primary caregivers and disconnecting them from sustainable resource use will disrupt livelihood sources and eventually result in conservation failure (Gore and Kahler, 2012: 2). Studying limitations, opportunities, incentives and disincentives in order to understand the influence of each gender in decision-making processes is vital (Halbrendt et al., 2014:216). Political ecology is used to contextualise the role played by gender as one of the local pressures or drivers that influence the success or failure of CBC. To clarify, in political ecology Torri (2013: 3) states, “The gender-based approach focuses on the material and ideological roots of gender relations including gendered sciences; gendered rights and responsibilities; and gendered participation in organisations and political activity”.
Gender participation in many societies is skewed in favour of men who take a bigger part in decision-making than women (Michael et al., 2013: 91). This results in decision-making processes dominated by men; where women either get inadequate feedback or are excluded from resources which may be essential for their livelihood (Kareiva and Marvier, 2012: 967). Gender relations within communities are affected by economic changes, international trade and other processes which bring shifts in the socio-economic processes of communities (Young et al., 2013: 365). A robust understanding of these issues is essential for inclusion in policy formulation.
2.4 Link between Policy Formulation and Political Ecology
Degradation of natural resources in developing countries can generally be traced directly to government policy failures (Cooke et al., 2012: 3; Game et al., 2013: 484). It is true that the practice of balancing economic prosperity with values of ecosystems is a perplexing issue. Many policies regarding the environment have an oversight in not managing natural resources in ways that improve societies’ welfare (He and Kua, 2013: 107). Geographic location, human activities and the uses of land in rural areas are important to biodiversity conservation (Young et al., 2014: 400). The theory of stakeholder participation is closely linked to political ecology approaches in relation to structures and methods of conducting joint decision-making for both policy formulation and implementation (Springate-Baginski et al., 2013: 86). The main problem with biodiversity is the increased rate of extinction as a result of expanding human populations, resource exploitation, land clearing and land use development (Dudgeon, 2013: 134; Yule et al., 2013: 152). Ways of reducing biodiversity losses have included national land use programmes which hold promise as a means of guiding land use development.
Figure 2.2 presents a cycle of the pressure-state-response on biodiversity as illustrated in relation to invasive alien species. As seen in Figure 2.2, direct pressure on biodiversity is in the form of human activity and this leads to a state of degraded biodiversity presenting the ultimate state of biodiversity policy. The response to the pressure and state of biodiversity is done specifically through sectoral policy arrangements and changes to policy actors and user behaviour. Pressure on biodiversity informs the nature of policy while policy response is ultimately the capacity to reduce direct and indirect pressure on biodiversity. Political ecology assists in transforming current concepts of biodiversity and local knowledge by articulating more balanced alternatives of ecology and social movements for incorporation into policy (Romero et al., 2012: 5). Control systems, preferences, socio-economic status, psychological and cultural traits, position, and resources available to policy actors command the manner in which they relate to particular aspects of policy (Bryant et al., 2011: 462, Chifamba, 2012: 213).
Figure 2.2: Pressure-State-Response to biodiversity loss and the role of policy (McGeoch et al., 2010: 96)
Reducing the pressures on biodiversity and maintaining community livelihoods may be well managed through coordination of policy from various sectors (Roe et al., 2015: 2). Sector policies, which have dominated conventional management approaches to biodiversity conservation, have spatial, social, cultural, economic and other repercussions (Pravat and Humphreys, 2013: 52). For example, in South Africa’s water sector, close attention is paid to the horizontal and vertical policy coherence in order to ensure coordination across land use and ecosystem protection, water, industry, health, biodiversity, environmental management and agricultural sectors (Kemerink et al., 2013: 256). Joint responsibilities and lack of administrative fragmentation could enhance the management of conservation strategies. In addition, the globalisation of modern socio-environmental problems dictates the need for a cohesive policy approach that is all encompassing at different levels of governance (Sherwood et al., 2013: 8). Policy actors include firms, individuals as well as public and private voluntary organisations involved directly or indirectly, formally or informally, in various roles at various stages of the policy process (Agyemang, 2012: 67). The interest of all these actors in relation to resource use and protection may be addressed in an all-encompassing land use policy (Holden and Otsuka, 2014: 27). This is the main purpose of land use policies at the national level, to offer a basis for sector policies in order to promote informed decision-making (Hamilton et al., 2013: 8). National land use planning policy is a difficult concept to promote because it is widely viewed as limiting economic development (Meyfroidt et al., 2013: 441). A further challenge may be experienced in coordinating these policies.
It has been observed that policies that are farthest from conservation can ultimately place more pressure on biodiversity (Roe, 2010: 42). For example, provision of subsidies has proved to be uneconomical and unsustainable for some regions. While subsidies may be beneficial to some groups in the short-term, ineffective spending emanating from these may cause harm to biodiversity if they miss their intended objectives (Ibarra et al., 2011: 320). In other cases, failure to allocate rights to property discourages effective resource accountability (Robalino and Villalobos-Fiatt, 2010: 2). These include land tenure laws and resource use regulations which may determine whether or not there is buy-in from local communities in resource conservation (Macharia et al., 2010: 88). In Malawi, however, co-management of forest reserves between government and communities has yielded positive outcomes. By bringing back people back into forest reserves, co-management of resources is demonstrating success (Zulu, 2013: 1918). Figure 2.3 represents the stages and processes that policy formulation may go through until it reaches implementation and beyond.?
Figure 2.3: Environmental policy process (Community Partnerships for Sustainable Resource Management – COMPASS, 2003: 11)
In Figure 2.3, the typical environmental policy formulation process shows how political ecology can assist in exposing the complex relationship between the environment and subsequent community development. For a typical policy process, a problem has to be perceived at the initial stage of the process and there needs to be a complete understanding of how communities make environmental decisions guided by the local political and social issues. The level at which policy is meant to operate has to be determined very early in the process; consequently determining the best strategy for the favourable response of communities. (Fischer et al., 2012: 5). The theories of political ecology and stakeholder participation (discussed later) are adopted for this research to support the proposition that biodiversity conservation and community development should be viewed as two issues which can be dealt with in an integrative manner. Addressing social and environmental problems separately constitutes weak sustainability (Boos, 2015: 4152). Weak sustainability recognises primarily present generations in the design of conservation strategies (Purdon, 2013: 1154). Strong sustainability, on the other hand, considers both present and future generations (Munda, 2013: 4). Consequently, conservation strategies combining biodiversity conservation and economic development achieve stronger sustainability through recognising the unpredictability of ecosystems and the complete dependence of communities on the ecosphere while appreciating at the same time the intrinsic values these systems provide (Jain and Jain, 2013: 119). This is especially the case in policy and strategies where biodiversity conservation is integrated with economic systems (de Groot et al., 2010: 271). Countries such as Malawi and South Africa are examples of countries that are adopting strong sustainability conservation strategies which take into consideration all the issues characteristic of strong sustainability (Norton, 2013: 404; Zulu, 2013: 1931). Lesotho has not reached this stage as yet with many conservation strategies having a short lifespan.
2.4.1 Political Ecology of Conservation
The practice of neglecting Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) in the creation of conservation policy has seen many local communities disrupted (Paudel, 2016: 15). Context matters in relation to biodiversity and its relationship to local politics. The questions of ‘who’ the key actors are, ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ to conserve require the right political context in order for conservation policy to be meaningful (Damiens, 2017: 254). A hospitable environment dedicated to truly fostering the participation of all key actors will lead to a stable conservation policy (Bennett, 2015: 62). Botswana offers a good example of conservation policy processes that appear politically inclusive but ultimately fail to empower local communities in conservation issues (Lenao and Saarinen, 2016: 119). The next section focuses on stakeholder theory. It is clear from the above discussion that political ecology strongly considers stakeholder issues, particularly the importance of power dynamics and differences between different groups is highlighted. These differences are embedded in the stakeholder theory.
2.5 Stakeholder Theory
While political ecology highlights the causal relationships between tools and conditions of environmental decision-making processes, stakeholder theory, on the other hand, assesses the relationships between various stakeholders. Stakeholder theory has consequently been extended from being a concept of how corporate firms include shareholders and is currently used to assess the value of stakeholders in other fields including biodiversity conservation (Crona and Parker, 2012: 1; Lafreniere et al., 2013: 85). Stakeholder theory can be defined as a tool used to comprehensively integrate stakeholders in decision-making processes (Freeman et al., 2012: 1). Its usefulness is better seen through the value it attaches to the concepts and language familiar to stakeholders and its role in identifying areas of tradeoffs in biodiversity conservation strategies (Harrison and Wicks, 2012: 97).
2.5.1 Identifying Stakeholders in Biodiversity Conservation
For successful conservation strategy implementation, “stakeholder participation, transparency, partnership and dialogue are critical elements in enacting a more inclusive science-policy relationship” (Bäckstrand, 2003: 36). Fletcher (2012: 314) defines stakeholder participation as “participatory procedures involving scientists, stakeholders, advocates, active citizens, and users of knowledge”. Stakeholders (interest groups or actors as they are sometimes referred to) include community leaders, traditional authorities, families, individuals, community-based organisations, businesses owners, commercial private sector, NGOs, local and national governments, international agencies and many others (Juerges and Newig, 2015: 230). Although this list is not exhaustive, it indicates the main actors in allocation and use of resources. In community conservation projects, communities are the primary stakeholders anticipated to be the beneficiaries of proposed developments (Weber et al., 2015: 392). Participation of stakeholders, especially local communities, can exist in several forms. Two are, however, more common: one can be described as neo-liberal (top-down) and the other can be described as participatory-democratic (bottom-up) (Allen., 2015: 49; Cohen and McCarthy, 2015: 12). Top-down approaches are characterised by decisions communicated to stakeholders as final, usually by government departments, big corporations or local authorities (Larsen, 2016: 27). The decision-making process offers none or minimal participation of all stakeholders. Botton-up decision-making processes, on the other hand, are defined by the inclusion of nearly all or all stakeholders (Pietrzyk-Kaszy?ska and Grodzi?ska-Jurczak, 2015: 38). Conducted individually, these processes are apparently both flawed. However, when these processes are merged success is more probable than failure. Ideally, local community input should drive the process.
Land ownership, resources and knowledge are at the epicentre of any participatory process in natural resource management (Bixler et al., 2016: 169). These power dynamics have historically and currently continue to shape relationships between stakeholders (Berbés-Blázquez et al., 2016: 138). For example, studies indicate that more powerful groups such as government (Acemoglu and Robinson, 2013: 7), local community leaders and men (Mwangi et al., 2011: 2), the majority of whom are landowners; often control and tilt decision-making processes to their advantage (Persha et al., 2011: 1606).
Traditional leaders often represent their communities in conservation board trusts and their main purpose is to represent the wishes and needs of their communities. In the case of the Kasanka National Park in Zambia, the notion that the chief represents the community was rejected by community members who stipulated that the chief was on the board of the Kasanka Development Trust representing no one but himself (Chidakel, 2011: 24). In similar situations, traditional leaders are often seen to fail to translate community conservation needs into viable solutions (Cavalcanti et al., 2010: 620). These further delineate the power dynamics within participatory processes and can be corrected by the adoption of trade-off analysis concerning different role players, resource conservation extraction and use (Zhang et al., 2015: 540).
2.5.2 Trade-offs and Synergies in Biodiversity Conservation
Conservation trade-offs are generally defined as the acceptable gains and losses which arise during biodiversity conservation and development activities (Rinkevich, 2015: 201). Strategies for conservation whose objective is to conserve both biodiversity and improve human well-being such as community conservation initiatives require trade-offs, to be made between human livelihoods, biodiversity and ecosystem services (von Haaren and Albert, 2011: 1). Ignorance of trade-offs by policy-makers and international corporations essentially create an unfavourable environment for CBC because diversity is not created (Spash and Aslaksen, 2015: 247). It is practical for these trade-offs to be identified to prevent vicious cycles of failure of conservation strategies adopted in Africa (Sovacool et al., 2015: 1617).
Billé et al. (2012: 6) state that while it is possible that a win-win situation in natural resource management may never be reached, transparency and acknowledgement of trade-offs is nevertheless essential for the revision of management options in nature conservation. According to Mcshane et al. (2011: 967), governments have to realise the ‘reality of trade-offs and the rhetoric of win-win’ conservation initiatives. The objective of win-win initiatives hardly ever meets its intended purpose. In biodiversity conservation and human well-being there are winners and losers and what needs to be managed are the extent and the manner in which these wins and losses happen (German et al., 2010: 36). For example, real, potential and perceived wins and losses have to be acknowledged in the management of nature and the drive towards human well-being and economic gain (Mcshane et al., 2011: 968). Salafsky (2011: 974) cautions that merely framing strategies as win-win although marketable, hardly benefits any of the objectives of conservation and economic development. For example, conservation projects such as those of agroforestry, cannot be defined according to their ecological functions of carbon sequestration but necessitate the inclusion of the social and economic functions as well (Jerneck and Olsson, 2013: 2).
It is highly possible that robust and sustainable conservation choices may be brought about by the acknowledgement of trade-offs on the question of scale, context and diversity; and these are paramount in measuring trade-offs and therefore adopting suitable strategies (Phelps et al., 2012: 58). The choice of strategy and its implementation should be legitimate and necessary at all levels. Figure 2.4 illustrates the reality when there is a supposed win-win strategy in place. As Salafsky (2011: 975) explains, “although in special cases there can be actions that benefit both the natural world and human welfare, an increase in human welfare generally involves diminishing natural world welfare”. ?
Figure 2.4: The inherent trade-offs between the natural world and human welfare (Salafsky, 2011: 975).
Non-financial compensation for ecosystem services may appear in several forms (Swallow et al., 2009: 2; de Bie and van Dessel, 2011: 51). Many ICDPs have failed because of their approach of direct financial compensations to local communities; these payments complement rather than replace current livelihood sources (Winkler, 2011: 66). Other forms of compensation include reduction of poverty, improved water services, alternative agricultural production, and provision of development projects to take pressure off degraded lands, including alternative income activities. (Farley et al., 2011: 398). According to de Bie and van Dessel (2011: 9):?
The ultimate goal of biodiversity compensation is clear: to achieve a situation of no net loss of biodiversity and if possible a net gain of biodiversity in the sense of species composition, habitat structure, and ecosystem functioning and services, including the use by and cultural values to mankind (livelihood aspects).
Communities are likely to be acceptable of conservation strategies where CBD consideration for poverty alleviation is in line with biodiversity conservation. Considerations can be in the form of the following (Slootweg et al., 2009: 27):
• Management of living components is considered alongside economic and social considerations at the ecosystem level of organisation, not simply a focus on managing species and habitats;
• If management of land, water, and living resources in equitable ways is to be sustainable, it must be integrated and work within the natural limits and utilise the natural functioning of ecosystems; and
• Ecosystem management is a social process. There are many interested communities, who must be involved in the development of efficient and effective structures and processes for decision-making and management.
This kind of alignment with provisions of international agreements and implementing agencies is essential to appreciate and construct appropriate payoffs for loss of ecosystems services (Berttram, 2011: 9). Trade-offs made between coexisting biological species have to be thoroughly researched, and similarly, human existence with nature has to be reasonably stabilised to allow for positive coexistence. Evidence suggests that different species provide different ecosystem functions and they are equally different in the economic benefits they provide for humans. In high populations, some mammal and bird species such as wild boar, starling and goose may cause vast economic losses for farmers and trade-offs have to be negotiated in such situations (Schneiders et al., 2012: 130). Conservation strategies in areas of human-wildlife conflict remain at risk of failing (Yurco et al., 2017: 1115). It is evident that through programmatic interventions, achievement has been acclaimed for several strategies of poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation.
Kenya has in recent years been faced with compounding problems due to the expansion of human populations and due to these, encroachment into PAs has been on the rise (Atela et al., 2015: 334). Human populations and wildlife compete for water resources, habitat fragmentation and blocking of wildlife migratory routes occur (Sawyer et al., 2009: 2016). These have all created negative perceptions toward biodiversity conservation in Kenya (Habel et al., 2015: 1536). Possible synergies such as inclusive co-management of protected and conservation areas and control over harvest procedures and hunting quotas have to be researched in order to create and maintain harmony (Gardner et al., 2012: 70).
Based on experiences from South Africa when modelling the achievements of safeguarding ecosystem services, three elements are highlighted to enable the necessary environment for effective outcomes (Clark et al., 2007: 456):
• Socially relevant
• User-inspired research
• Stakeholder empowerment and adaptive management
These issues are reiterated by Förster et al. (2015: 1) who insist that problem-oriented research on safeguarding ecosystem services yields better results than other approaches. Enabling legislation, for example, is essential but they may not be sufficient to shift governance toward adaptive management (Rands et al., 2010: 1300). Drastic adjustments are necessary for integrating ecosystem services in decision-making (Seng et al., 2016: 387). Conservation choices such as fencing and strict control of access to natural resources limit ecosystem services such as hunting, grazing, the harvest of medicinal plants and firewood for communities (Jerneck and Olsson, 2013: 17; Reyer et al., 2012: 506). More developing countries including South Africa are swiftly developing legislature on compensation for loss of ecosystem services (de Bie and van Dessel, 2011: 69).
2.5.3 Methodological Shift in Stakeholder Participation
Stakeholder participation is done in order to manage conflict and tensions that usually arise during the implementation of conservation strategies (Ervine, 2011: 67). It is embraced as a process that brings together diverse interests among stakeholders. Involving stakeholders at the local level is a good mechanism to resolve complex issues in conservation planning (Armah et al., 2009: 75). Participation is usually done by public consultation through what are sometimes called stakeholder forums or workshops.
The challenges of poverty, development and environmental change are rooted in the participation of stakeholders in the planning and implementation of ecological protection (Jepson et al., 2011: 231). Stakeholder participation theory is fairly recent owing to the failure of conservation initiatives in Africa (Goldman, 2011: 68). It is significant, therefore, during problem formulation, to involve all those likely to be affected by the decisions. To adequately conserve biodiversity, there has to be a clear, simplistic but essential knowledge of what needs to be protected (Turner et al., 2015: 174). Community participation now has a place in focus group discussions on policy dialogues and international forums on environmental planning and management and various other multi-stakeholder forums (Sayer et al., 2015: 347). The knowledge and expertise of communities in this instance are significant.
Participation of communities in environmental decision-making forums can take two forms: (i) ensuring that participants have the power to really influence the decision, and (ii) ensuring that participants have the technical capability to engage effectively in the decision-making process (Liu et al., 2014: 1352; Reed, 2008: 2422). Participation is appropriate where there are no pre-conceived notions of what the decision has to be, this would render participation useless and inappropriate (Heyman and Stronza, 2011: 148).
Ownership of the management and planning of any identified biodiversity or natural resource is placed in the hands of local stakeholders’ involvement in the decision-making processes (Namirembe et al., 2014: 93). Several countries have already been engaging in this approach for the protection of forests, coral reef conservation and general conservation of marine and terrestrial flora and fauna (Bennett and Dearden, 2014: 108). There is a general consensus about involving communities in environmental resource management and policy decisions (Welch-Devine and Campbell, 2010: 339; Nielsen, 2011: 107; Gruber, 2011: 162). There are, however, on-going challenges of how to improve community involvement to increase accountability and responsibility towards policy decisions and implementation (Plieninger et al., 2015: 32).
In theory, participatory approaches strive to promote the broad involvement of stakeholder groups in conservation planning and decision-making. In practice, the shape that participation has to take is still not clear (Hagerman et al., 2010: 302). Power sharing in several participatory processes remains abstract and leadership is generally autocratic (Doyle-Capitman et al., 2018: 5). CBC involves joint planning, cross-sectoral involvement and therefore multi-stakeholder participation which compliment collaborative joint conservation initiatives (Fay, 2011: 10). The highly political decision-making processes inherent in conservation strategies encourages stakeholders to identify costs and benefits and outcomes for proposed conservation strategies (Kovács et al., 2015: 120).
The approach, however, differs from nation to nation and thus in some instances a top-down nature conservation approach is adopted and this has led to communities viewing conservation initiatives with hostility and contempt (Graham, 2015: 12). Although both trying to fulfil the requirements of sustainable development, these two approaches have led to projects that emphasise either nature or local communities as opposed to complimentary nature-society relationships. Thus most project successes are based on the views of the evaluator’s criteria prioritising either nature or community.
The politics of formalising and rescaling village rules can sometimes alienate and reduce their local significance and therefore undermine their judgement and scale of enforcement. These can be brought about by the construction or modification of CBC to fit the interests of all stakeholders (Zulu, 2012: 203). Stakeholder participation advocates for a bottom-up approach in environmental decision-making as this approach is more likely to achieve set goals and objectives. A top-down approach, however, is seen as oppressive and because it is authority-led, it is seen as less likely to achieve objectives (Torri, 2011: 56). The characteristics of bottom-up communication types involve (Wilson and Irvine, 2013: 93):
• Participation, collaboration, a partnership;
• Two-way dialogue, negotiation and deliberation; and
• Involvement in decision-making.
The new concepts of stakeholder participation need extensive and continued political and scientific support (Posner et al., 2016: 1762). Adequate resources are a prerequisite for effective public engagement as an attempt to engage affected groups for local knowledge and expertise (Abdullahi, 2012: 6). Models of strategies, assumptions and findings are best accommodated when they reflect local input (Negi, 2012: 276). This assists in clarifying rules of participation processes and provide incentives and opportunities for stakeholders in conservation strategies (Bixler et al., 2016: 162).
Trust building among policy actors can be enhanced through problem formulation in biodiversity policy process, the scope of the problem and instruments needed to answer questions which might arise within the set scope (Pullin et al., 2016: 1290). It is thus envisaged that the scope will address ecological, social, geographical, temporal and political issues (Bramwell, 2015: 207), which will define the solutions that will be reached at the end of each policy process. Policy formulation and sequencing do not only strive to include communities in decision-making processes, but also endeavours to appreciate the causes of their environmental problems (García-Llorente et al., 2012: 144). The inclusion of gender relations and social inequality during policy formulation enables endpoints to be defined effectively in projects. The concept of gender mainstreaming has recently been found to promote gender equality by empowering women in institutional policy and practice (Ferguson and Alarcón, 2015: 410). In many conservation initiatives, values, knowledge, use, access and control of biodiversity services are affected at various levels by gender roles within communities (Druschke and Secchi, 2014: 95). Gender mainstreaming has many defined elements and of these, gender analysis and empowerment of women are taking over in community conservation initiatives (Ogra, 2012: 1258).
Developing countries such as those found in southern Africa rarely display systems which reflect women in leadership, authority and working conditions which allow for their voices in decision-making (van Wijk et al., 2015: 251). However, Orga (2012: 2) cautions that an emphasis on numbers may mask the patriarchal nature of globalising trends in gender mainstreaming. This is perpetuated by the overwhelming nature of corporate culture in setting performance criteria and salaries which are marred by gross inequality gaps (Seng, 2012: 7). Women are usually unable to sustain their own leadership models which would enable them to facilitate the empowerment of other women in corporate institutions (Crane, 2010: 20). Socially responsible governance begins with international moves for the inclusion of women in decision-making. SDG 5 strategically endeavours to prioritise increasing women’s representation in political bodies (Collste et al., 2017: 925). Through SDG 5, policy changes are gradually being directed at addressing balancing girls and women recognition through restructuring educational systems and engagement in economic activities (MDG report, 2012: 37). Ratification of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) assists in encouraging the exploration of economic and social policies (Kismödi et al., 2012: 34). These respond better to the needs of men and women by guiding governments in ensuring a fair share of responsibilities and benefits. Recommendations of this nature may also include mainstreaming gender and biodiversity into school curricula (Sasvari et al., 2010: 46).
It is essential that mainstreaming gender does not equate to women and women’s issues, but to the overall socio-political differences that separate women from men (Cornwall and Rivas, 2015: 400). These include biological, cultural and economic differences within space and time (Cornwall, and Rivas, 2015: 412). Factors that locally define the differences between women and men which have implications for community participation in natural resource management processes are significant (Müller et al., 2015: 73).
Natural resource use differs between gender and age groups (Evans, 2012: 32). Women and men have different levels of power to access and use of natural resources (Bergeron and Healy, 2013: 6). Gender mainstreaming should, therefore, be conducted to identify these multiple users to guarantee that the proposed strategy will equally benefit all groups in a community in order to ensure accountability (Jensen, 2018: 240). The assumption that communities are homogenous will consistently lead to policy outcomes that are inequitable in nature. For example, Larson et al. (2018: 91) underline that in order to discover various strategies for enforcing rules and implementing policy with gender-specific implications. Gender is an institution that highlights the diverse features that communities have in relation to natural resources. The ideologies, practices, constraints, conflicts and power relations are brought to the surface thus supporting the difficult and multidimensional nature of gender relations (Sakurai et al., 2015: 427).
In many southern African countries, societal traditions and culture have contributed to the exclusion of women to participate in decision-making without being ‘formally’ denied participation (Dlamini et al., 2014: 128). Gender marginalisation and stratification continue to hamper the ability of women to genuinely participate in decision-making processes (Parker et al., 2015: 99). As evidenced by studies conducted in countries such as Malawi and Nigeria, the participation of women in environmental protection is still minimal (Eneji et al., 2015: 238). The nature of participation of certain groups in decision-making is embedded in the beliefs, values and the power they hold. Participation and empowerment, particularly of women, still require theoretical tools to construct more effective methods and techniques to encourage and ensure that women fully participate in development and transformation (Farnworth and Colverson, 2015: 25).
Many of the agents comprising female and male community members and agencies associated with the second economy tap into the accumulated skills and expertise, and IKS from traditional Africa. Locally, knowledge provided by both men and women can be used for gender-sensitive and participatory approaches to institutional and policy interventions. The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has administered a project that draws substantively on gender-based indigenous knowledge in Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe with documented success (Baudron et al., 2015: 892). IKS is by “definition interdisciplinary, where local people think of and manage their natural environment as a whole system, developed in specific historical and cultural contexts, and are, therefore ‘typically not generated but a set of pre-specified procedures or rules and orally passed down from one generation to the next” (Carm, 2014: 60). IKS ultimately allows for the integration of information which is indigenous and modern. This is in keeping with the purpose of this research by producing knowledge that contributes to the policy aspect of biodiversity conservation and community development.
The reference to stakeholder theory exemplifies how the integration of role players can, for the most part, make or break attempts or even implementation of conservation initiatives. Communities have been in some way or the other been implementing mitigation measures to curb the overexploitation of resources. Similarly, governments implement strategies to conserve biodiversity for various purposes. Current challenges faced by communities and planners about conservation, can, for the most part, be overcome. Stakeholder theory capacitates all role players to contribute to decision-making by incorporating both community and government decisions. This is also where science and traditional knowledge merge for the greater good.
In this chapter, the theories of political ecology and stakeholder participation have been discussed in relation to biodiversity conservation and policy formulation. The globalisation of biodiversity conservation, loss of indigenous knowledge and marginalisation of communities are highlighted as the main concepts of political ecology in relation to natural resource management. Related to this is the participation of stakeholders in policy formulation, development and conservation initiatives. More specifically, the role of gender and the role of women in decision-making processes have been discussed.
The framework provides a general guide to strategies of biodiversity conservation and it is used in this study to explain the relationships between several variables of biodiversity conservation. These variables will differ according to contrasting cultures and the values derived from the uses of natural ecosystems. The structure of this theoretical framework offers a guide to policy-makers, planners, scientists and project managers to enhance ecosystems and community viability. It can be used in the design, implementation, evaluation and monitoring of conservation projects.
Chapter Three: Literature review
This chapter reviews the existing literature on rural biodiversity conservation and community development in developing countries, with particular attention on Africa. The literature reviewed uncovers the interlinkages between ecosystem services and rural livelihoods. Rural livelihoods are underscored by the health of biodiversity and the services derived from ecosystems. In addition, the chapter provides a brief history of conservation and PAs management strategies in Africa. However, there are various drivers of ecosystem change, at global and local scales, which are critically undermining rural livelihoods. There are inevitable trade-offs when biodiversity is conserved and this chapter aims to highlight how these can shape the perceptions and attitudes of communities. Such widespread awareness of biodiversity conservation stems from multilateral agreements. A further review of the literature discusses how these inform conservation and development strategies in Africa.
3.2 Significance of Biodiversity
The term biodiversity has multiple definitions serving different contexts. Extending from the definition of biodiversity provided in Chapter One, this section presents some of the various definitions of biodiversity. Definitions are adapted depending on the purpose for which they are used. Dirzo and Mendoza (2008: 368) provide the following definition of biodiversity:
The constellation of plants, animals, fungi, and microorganisms on Earth; their genetic variation; and the communities and ecosystems of which they are a part – is a central component of Earth’s life support systems. Biodiversity encompasses several facets, including genetic diversity, endemism, diversity of functional groups, and agro-biodiversity, but these are seldom considered.
According to Gregorius et al. (2003: 209), “biodiversity is a term that comprises the appearance, structure and function of all levels of biological organisation, including genes, species and ecosystems”. However, in order to capture the overall function that biodiversity plays in African rural livelihood a more useful definition is:
The variety of living organisms, the ecological complexes in which they occur, and the ways in which they interact with each other and the physical environment…three primary components: composition, structure, and function. From a conservation perspective, it is necessary to consider each of these components.
(Groves et al., 2002: 502)
Current knowledge about biodiversity revolves around the MEA analysis of how biodiversity responds to and influences ecosystem functioning (Mulder et al., 2015: 40). Ordinarily, biodiversity is viewed at three different levels: genetic diversity, species diversity and ecosystem diversity (Papot et al., 2016: 1566; Schöb et al., 2015: 726).
Genetic diversity can generally be defined as the variety found within or among species which allows the population or species to adapt and evolve in response to changing environments and natural selection pressures (Andres et al., 2012: 102). Genetic diversity is reliant on the heritable variation within and between populations of organisms (Brooks et al., 2015: 2). On the other hand, species diversity is the absolute number of species living in a given area (also called alpha diversity), giving equal weight to all resident species. The ecological importance of a species can have a direct effect on community structure, and thus on overall biological diversity (Newbold et al., 2016: 290). Finally, ecosystem diversity is the diversity of habitats, ecosystems and the accompanying ecological processes that maintain them (de Bello et al., 2010: 2875). Ecosystem diversity is often evaluated through measures of the diversity of the component species and ecological functions (Mouchet et al., 2010: 867). Ecosystem diversity is often lost in species that are overexploited and this obviously has important implications for the conservation ranking of different areas (Laikre et al., 2010: 87). For communities who rely on harvested resources, these three attributes offer both nutrition and income, and studies show that in areas where there is a lack of infrastructure these offer means of access to cash economy (Sunderland, 2011: 266).
The common feature in all of the above definitions is that biodiversity is used to describe the number, variety and variability of living organisms, embracing many different parameters (Brooks et al., 2015: 6). However, biodiversity decline and ecosystem change have generated a necessity by scientists and policy-makers to measure and quantify biodiversity (Allan et al., 2015: 838; Hautier et al., 2015: 338). The explanation highlighted by the MEA is insightful in this respect and elaborates on these services:?
These include provisioning services such as food, water, timber, and fiber; regulating services that affect climate, floods, disease, wastes, and water quality; cultural services that provide recreational, aesthetic, and spiritual benefits; and supporting services such as soil formation, photosynthesis, and nutrient cycling.
(MEA, 2005: v)
Africa has an incredibly rich biodiversity ranging from equatorial rainforests to savannas and deserts (Linder et al., 2012: 1190). It possesses hotspots of unique flora and fauna such as that found in the Cape Floristic Region in South Africa (Cowling and Potts, 2015: 75; Verboom et al., 2015: 369). Madagascar, similarly, holds the highest rank of endemic vertebrates (mammals, birds and amphibians – more than 300) in Africa, with more still being discovered as research progresses (Brooks et al., 2001: 620). Specifically, southern Africa has eight biomes, namely; forest biome, thicket biome, savanna biome, grassland biome, Nama-Karoo biome, succulent-Karoo biome, desert biome and the fynbos biome (Rouget et al., 2015: 25). The multifaceted topography and heterogeneity of southern Africa results in ecological differences throughout the region and these are seen as specific main reasons for its high floristic diversity (Verboom et al., 2015: 370).
While it is biodiversity-rich, Africa is also the poorest continent on the planet (Smith et al., 2015: 23). For example, countries such Burundi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Zambia are on the top list where extreme poverty measures have been noted in areas of rich biodiversity (Billé et al., 2012: 2). Poor households spend time on more activities to secure their livelihoods. Where remedial measures are put in place for rural development, they have performed well for neither poor people nor biodiversity (Billé et al., 2012: 7). There is a need for economic growth and accelerated demographic transition which is likely to advance Africa out of poverty (Spash and Aslaksen, 2015: 246). These can be achieved in part through long-term biodiversity conservation as opposed to short-term economic gains (Calfucura, 2018: 20). Short-term benefits such as the creation of jobs through eco-tourism projects although politically and economically beneficial, often mask the long-term environmental impacts of such development projects (Singh, 2017: 7). Biodiversity conservation is not only an environmental process; it is an economic and social process as well (Ferroni et al., 2015: 252). For developing nations with economic challenges and abundance in ecological diversity, it is also a political and cultural process (Velasco et al., 2015: 93). Striking a balance in the trade-offs between economic gain and the loss of cultural and environmental loss is crucial.
A substantial number of known species is lost every decade from the African region (Fitzgerald, 2015: 175; Cordeiro et al., 2015: 64) and services such as food, medicine and other products offered to humans are often lost when species go extinct (Jorgensen et al., 2016: 265). Biodiversity is considered for ethical, scenic and economic reasons, as well as for reasons of ecological functioning (Mittermeier et al., 2011: 4). The values of biodiversity are summarised in Table 3.1.
Values Examples Scale and influence
Productive use The value placed on nature’s products consumed directly without passing through markets: sources of food and fuel for local communities; construction materials; raw materials for local manufacture; medicines, potions and herbs Local, regional and national
The value of products commercially harvested, all of the above which may be marketed, wild species as a source of new domesticated; wild genetic resources to improve domesticated; rangeland and non-cultivated forage; wild pollinators; natural pests Local, regional, national and global
Accrue to society in the form of services not directly consumed or traded: leisure pursuits such as bird watching; environmental maintenance functions, including (1) regulation of macro and micro-climate, (2) carbon cycling, (3) environmental change indicators, (4) protection and buffering for foods, (5) photosynthetic fixing of solar energy, (6) ecosystem functions related to reproduction, such as pollution, gene transfer and cross-fertilisation Local, regional, national and global
Table 3.1: Values and benefits of biodiversity (Jónsson and Davíðsdóttir, 2016: 31; Ojea et al., 2016: 286; Vermaat et al., 2016:124)
Biodiversity values and benefits include the provision of goods such as food, timber, medicines and fibre; regulation of natural events such as flood control and climate; and nutrient cycling and non-material benefits such as recreation (Andres et al., 2012: 101). These processes contribute to agriculture through pollination and pest control, provide carbon storage and sequestration, and positively affect human physical and mental health (Raudsepp-Hearne et al., 2010: 5242). Further functions of biodiversity include the long-term security by providing resilience to disturbance and environmental change (Rands et al., 2010: 1298). It is a challenge subscribing similar conservation and development strategies for different levels of economic and cultural development and these have fueled the globalisation of biodiversity conservation.
3.3 International Targets and Globalisation of Biodiversity Conservation
The capitalisation and globalisation of community-based conservation are heavily embedded in southern African conservation strategies and these are customarily attached to international targets (Saayman and Giampiccoli, 2016: 155). The globalisation of biodiversity conservation incorporates processes of participation in community-based conservation strategies which are similar to those adopted in global settings (Martiniello, 2015: 511; Hibbard and Lurie, 2011: 5). The United State Agency for International Development (USAID) has been at the forefront in promoting CBNRM in southern Africa (Mbaiwa, 2015: 65). Examples of initiatives such as the Administrative Management Design for Game Management Areas (ADMADE) in Zambia and the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) in combine local and global approaches to enhance continual community participation (Nyirenda, 2015: 283).
Recently, conservation strategies have been actively focusing on policies, institutional capacity, stakeholder participation and inclusive management strategies (Sinclair et al., 2011: 43). Resulting from international efforts, states are obliged to base their conservation efforts on policies which will provide economic benefits for local communities while also attempting to integrate conservation initiatives with multiple sector policies (Goldman, 2011: 6). International efforts for the protection of biological diversity make apparent the extent environmental interests conflict with economic and social development interests. Both developments for poverty alleviation and biodiversity protection are international targets. Biodiversity policies need to tie in with other aspects of human development (Di Falco and Palmer, 2012: 51). This section critically discusses such agreements in relation to Africa with a special interest in the human well-being and biodiversity. These targets are outlined in SDGs and MEAs, discussed in the current section.
3.3.1 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Biodiversity and Development
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which were operational between 1990 and 2000 were according to Vandemoortele (2002: 1), “a set of numerical and time-bound targets that express key elements of human development”. The MDGs were target driven, with specific indicators commencing from 1990 and ultimately ending in 2015 (Fukuda-Parr., 2016: 51). Notable changes were registered in several developmental objectives between 1990 and 2015. There have, however, been areas identified to broaden the focus of certain goals. To continue on the goals of the MDGs, the SDGs have been developed. These comprise the economic, social and environmental objectives (WHO, 2015: 3). There are 17 SDGs, the following are highlighted in relation to the current study:
• End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable
• Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
• Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
• Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably
manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
The MDG 2015 report acknowledges that this area still needs improvement even globally,
However, other aspects of protection also need improvement. These include effective and equitable management and connectivity, and protection of areas important for biodiversity and ecosystem services, especially ecologically representative PA networks (MDG, 2015: 56).
In order to achieve these goals, improved governance is essential to pave a way for appropriate trade-offs across activities (Hirsch et al., 2015: 261). The trend was still of concern in the previous report period; the target for the reduction of biodiversity loss was being missed considerably by several countries globally (Valiente?Banuet et al., 301). Fundamentally, not meeting this target impedes progress on other goals because it has a negative bearing on poverty, hunger and health (Vershima et al., 2015: 67). Hence, with the introduction of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) after the MDGs were phased out, it is anticipated that countries will be reconnected to issues in a renewed manner (Lajaunie et al., 2015: 27).
The SDGs are designed to be universal and cohesive (Kumar et al., 2016: 1). In relation to biodiversity conservation and improving livelihoods, the SDGs respond to the following issues identified to potentially be useful for being integrated goals across sectors globally:
• Effective use of agricultural land to protect biodiversity while improving productivity and maintaining ecosystem services (McMichael and Schneider, 2011: 121);
• Mechanisms which can inspect closely the impacts poverty alleviation strategies have on ecosystems and their services, especially on poor rural communities (Bullock et al., 2011: 541).
Ineffective or insufficient biodiversity protection and conservation have several implications for poverty-stricken Africa (Mufune., 2015: 16; Seat, 2015: 193). As discussed above, biodiversity conservation is associated with the various functions of ecosystems. Assessment of ecosystem services allows conservation planning that is systematic and considers all levels of ecosystem functioning (Andres et al., 2012: 103). Remote regions in rural Africa will continue to experience isolation from mainstream socio-economic development, further unbalancing the scale in the need to improve livelihood and reverse biodiversity degradation and poverty (Rodríguez-Pose and Hardy, 2015: 13). In sub-Saharan Africa, poverty has been reported to have declined by only 26%, making it the lowest rate of decline in the world, thus approximately 40% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa still live in extreme poverty (MDG, 2015: 14).
Although conservation policies and strategies cannot always be held accountable for disrupting rural livelihood; they contribute to rural poverty if not executed effectively (Salerno et al., 2015: 705). For example, strategies of exclusion found in most PAs and development and conservation processes do not adequately justify common practices which affect the livelihood of the rural poor (Nkonya et al., 2015: 88). However; maintenance and improvement of biodiversity have been documented in areas where effective reforms of conservation practices have been made, and these have included the provision of incentives for local populations (Petursson and Vedeld, 2015: 255).
3.3.2 Multilateral Environmental Agreements
MEAs are described as legal agreements about the environment and may be agreements among three or more states relating to the environment (Mackey et al., 2015: 139). Produced by the UN, MEAs are negotiated under the intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC). The already established MEAs are discussed within the Conference of the Parties (COP) (Obold et al., 2011: 390). MEAs have been used as institutional mechanisms for countries to meet their SDGs. The desire and the feasibility of creating appropriate PES have to be driven by valuable lessons for mobilising such activities (UNEP, 2010: 3). MEAs and SDGs share common features, in order to perform valuable trade-offs analysis, MEA mechanisms have been consistent with SDGs (Duraiappah and Bhardwaj, 2005: 3). This has led to the ratification of more refined MEAs and of interest to this study are the following: UNFCCC, CBD, Ramsar Convention, UNCCD and the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
UNFCCC was established in 1992 and currently has 195 member states and these are all represented by the COP and supported by the UNFCCC Secretariat (Shrestha, 2013: 1). The main objectives of the adaptation of the UNFCCC are to attain a balance in the production of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere with the aim of reducing unwarranted anthropogenic disturbances due to changes in the climate system (Roe et al., 2009: 98). The end goal is to ensure sustainable food production and economic development. According to Article 4 of the Convention, parties commit to taking responsibilities relevant to their national and regional needs (Brunnée and Streck, 2013: 592). Specifically for Africa, parties committed to (Smit et al., 2000: 224), “develop and elaborate appropriate and integrated plans for coastal zone management, water resources and agriculture, and for the protection and rehabilitation of areas, affected by drought and desertification, as well as floods”.
Adaptation to climate change, traditional management systems and contemporary Natural Resources Management (NRM) strategies will prove a sustainable option for African countries in their effort to meet the objectives of UNFCCC (Roger and Belliethathan, 2016: 106; Lucas et al, 2015: 714). The objectives of UNFCCC are closely related to those of UNCCD, and adaptation of both agreements paves the way for simplified cross-sectoral and multiple stakeholder participation (Amadi and Mac Ogonor, 2015: 55; Kimani et al., 2015: 27). While creating synergies in these two areas, country objectives tend to overlook other areas such as biodiversity conservation and meeting objectives of the CBD and this has led to the establishment of joint programmes across MEAs (Lyman, 2015: 88). For example, reduced emissions from reforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) programmes in Africa are geared towards reducing the impacts of climate change. REDD+ is designed to assist countries in reversing the effects of deforestation and CDM promotes the use of biofuels to lower emissions of greenhouse gases (Maraseni and Cadman, 2015: 300). Specifically, CDM is designed to further promote human well-being through better sanitation and mental health through reduced indoor smoke, and employment generation as well as conservation of resources by reducing dependence on trees and primary sources of fuel in rural areas, while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions (Watts et al., 2015: 1180; Boyd, 2012: 301). REDD+ further deals with concerns such as the following (Gardner et al., 2012: 62):
• Ensuring that no further harm is done to natural forests,
• Maintaining the long-term ecological integrity of forests, and
• Capitalising on opportunities to secure net-positive impacts for biodiversity.
Although both of these programmes possess great potential in meeting their objectives, their implementation in Africa has been challenging. REDD+ has the potential of saving Africa’s forests which are home to terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity. REDD+ has the following safeguards to assist nations in implementing its activities (UNFCCC/CP/2010/7/Add.1 para 2):
Be consistent with the objective of environmental integrity and take into account the multiple functions of forests and other ecosystems…That actions are consistent with the conservation of natural forests and biological diversity, ensuring that REDD+ activities are not used for the conversion of natural forests, but are instead used to incentivise the protection and conservation of natural forests and their ecosystem services and to enhance other social and environmental benefits.
These safeguards are necessary to ensure that among other things, REDD+ activities do not promote ‘leakage’ into other ecosystems such as the savannas. Afforestation of non-forest areas, resulting in bush encroachment may follow as an indirect consequence of REDD+ activities (Bekele et al., 2015: 14). UNFCCC implementation through these various programmes may indirectly promote policies which favour economic and development benefits at the expense of biodiversity (Voigt and Ferreira, 2015: 118). Failure to influence socio-ecological adaptability in vulnerable communities may eventually be one of UNFCCC’s ultimate disappointments (Tanner et al., 2015: 25). Globally, clearing of forests in the tropical regions of the world has significantly altered ecological processes (Robbins, 2015: 325). There has been an increase in the severity and number of floods, desertification is increasing at an alarming rate and poverty is on the rise within regions tropical rain forests (Marengo et al., 2013: 93). The general perception is that attempts to limit forest clearing are for the most part out of government control (Deckard, 2016: 2; Elgert, 2015: 16). Governments, however, continue to make attempts to encourage citizens’ participation in environmental mitigation measures (Medina, 2015: 280; Osborne, 2015: 70). There are drivers to ecosystem change which may indirectly affect the distribution and richness of species including the introduction of alien or exotic species where they do not originally occur, and this is discussed in the next section.
According to van der Leeuw, (2008: 29), adaptation refers to “the process of structural change in response to external circumstances” while vulnerability refers to “the situations in which neither robustness nor resilience enables a system to survive without structural changes”. Tying the examination of adaptability, resilience, and vulnerability of ecosystems to an understanding of the social and economic structures assists in shaping socio-ecological linkages (Maina et al., 2015: 8). Socio-ecological systems (SES) are the linkages between ecological and social entities of communities and their surrounding environments (Elsawah et al., 2015: 505). Assessing the vulnerability of communities to ecological changes is a prerequisite to building resilience and adaptability. It is not enough to assess the vulnerability of communities, it is also essential to assess the risk which takes into account the potential hazards to be faced (Daron et al., 2015: 9).
Closely related to the UNFCCC is the UNCCD. Land degradation in arid and semi-arid environments is a result of among other factors climate change and human activity (Costa et al., 2016: 59). Ratified by 195 states, the main purpose of the convention is to foster improvement of ecosystems by combating land degradation and help alleviate poverty (Bouza et al., 2016: 292). Countries have taken the task of properly documenting land and ecosystem loss in order to ensure better land management systems including biodiversity conservation (Horion et al., 2017: 13318).
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
The main objectives of the CBD are the following: conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of its components, the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources, appropriate access to genetic resources, appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, create accountability over the rights those resources and technologies, and appropriate funding (CBD, 1992: 3). Several African countries including Lesotho and other southern African countries have ratified the CBD (Wekundah, 2012: 16). Figure 3.1 shows some of the key elements for the implementation of the CBD.
Figure 3.1: Key focus elements for successful implementation of CBD (Secretariat of the CBD, 2012: 45)
The convention was adopted in 1992 and signed by over 188 countries around the world (Lee, 2014: 206; Toledo and Burlingame, 2006: 477). Several African countries have been very active in attempting to fulfil the requirements of the convention and national reports are produced to provide information on the steps taken and to assess the effectiveness of the methods used. The Convention has facilitated the production of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) for multiple countries (Adenle et al., 2015: 105). These NBSAPs guide countries in developing biodiversity conservation strategies and identifying gaps in technical capacity and financing (Sarkki et al., 2015: 1384). Illustrated in Figure 3.1, focus for improved CBD can be summarised into six (6) major areas for consideration in meeting objectives (Secretariat of the CBD, 2012: 45). All of these focus areas are interconnected and either success or failure in achieving one can affect the other and ultimately collapse efforts for successful biodiversity conservation. The first step is a commitment, in order for any country to fully undertake the recommendations of the CBD; there has to be a commitment to perform. There are no legally binding steps taken for this in the form of contracts signed but countries do have to sign up to be a party to the convention. There is cooperation with the CBD to fulfil planned strategies and report before deadlines. This is done in order to have tangible evidence of the work each country does towards biodiversity conservation and to monitor progress on an annual basis. Each country evaluates and monitors its own efforts and communicates with the CBD on a need-to basis. Capacity and capital talk to resources that each country commits to activities which will fulfil the mandate of the CBD. Capital in the form of funds and capacity in the form of human resources. The number of departments and their technical know-how is essential for this fulfilment. Coordination of objectives and activities between various departments cannot be overemphasised. This is crucial in order not to duplicate activities and resources. This can be achieved through adequate and regular communication between role players. The role of the CBD is to support countries but this comes with challenges. Many of the challenges of the CBD may be administrative, but attention here is given to challenges faced by the CBD in its technical capacity.
One major challenge of the CBD in its objective of biodiversity conservation and human well-being is its failure to measure PES (Gómez-Baggethun et al., 2010: 1214). Economists have attempted to come up with a way of estimating provisioning services, cultural services, supporting services and regulating services, categories of Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (Reid and Mooney, 2016: 42). This is done by identifying the production value of species. It is possible to estimate the value of a negligible “change in the biodiversity that supports the directly valued goods or services”, and sourcing “that value requires specification of the production functions that connect indirectly exploited species to directly valued goods or services” (Perrings, 2010: 14).
CBD and biodiversity protection
The well-developed global indicators for states for the implementation of CBD objectives have shortfalls. For instance, increasing forest cover may not necessarily indicate the state of biodiversity conservation even though it may be a good indicator of increasing timber stocks (Gagné et al., 2015: 18). Similarly, states’ commitment to increasing PA coverage is hardly an indicator of trends of biodiversity change within PAs (Orlikowska et al., 2016: 217). Trends in biodiversity change are indicated in terms of richness and quantity and these have to be highlighted in reports. These challenges are made worse by inconsistencies in documentation and incomplete data presented in national reports (Morales-Hidalgo et al., 2015: 71). Closely linked to the CBD is the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and it is discussed below.
Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands was adopted in 1971 (Papayannis and Pritchard, 2011: 11) and has been reformulated to promote the sustainable use of wetlands resources (Davidson, 2016: 686). The Ramsar Convention assists nations to better address issues which may arise in the strategies to protect and conserve wetlands. Wetlands ecosystems are degrading at a rate faster than any other ecosystem and the Ramsar Convention has asked nations to understand the services and drivers of change that affect wetlands (Mauerhofer et al., 2015: 99). This assists in designing custom mitigation measures for wetlands across the globe (Ramsar Convention Secretariat, 2010: 20). However, due to undefined variable measures, the question of whether the Ramsar Convention will prove sufficient in the long run is still being answered across nations (Dixon et al., 2016: 28). Figure 3.3 indicates the performance of African countries under the Ramsar Convention; these indicators are based on reports from individual countries which include the following: existing wetland policy, wetlands inventory, ecological state of wetlands, and administrative wetlands authority (Adams and Durfee, 2011: 1). There is an increasing rate of impacts by drivers of ecological change and this brings new challenges for the convention to respond to these changes as effectively as possible (Gell and Finlayson, 2016: 683).
Figure 3.2: Performance rating of African countries under Ramsar (%) (Adams and Durfee, 2011: 1)
Figure 3.2 shows several countries in Africa are performing well above a respectable 50%. These improvements have been brought about by clarification, strengthening and development of the Ramsar Convention (Adams and Durfee, 2011: 1). According to Figure 3.3, Lesotho’s performance is rated at approximately 60%. It may, however, be reasonable to expect better performance considering the recent activity in the country in identifying Ramsar sites and designing strategies of protection (Crowson, 2011: 53).
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
It has been established that CITES focuses on the need to “conserve biodiversity and contribute to its sustainable use by ensuring that no species of wild fauna or flora becomes or remains subject to unsustainable exploitation through international trade, thereby contributing to the significant reduction of the rate of biodiversity loss” (CITES, 2011: 16). With this vision in mind, it is envisaged that international trade on faunal and floral species can be sustainable and contribute to human welfare instead of causing irreversible loss of species and livelihoods (Phelps and Webb, 2015: 297).
A close critique shows that CITES attaches more economic than the ethical value to species and this has been one of its shortfalls (Challender et al., 2015: 249). Some species may have financial value. By placing a financial and aesthetic value to species, CITES is seen as promoting an anthropocentric view which places humans as superior to other forms of life (Liu et al., 2015: 2). The approach of attaching these values to species may be ineffective in protecting biodiversity in the long run as market values and interest in these species may change (Ingram et al., 2015: 2). Behavioural changes may as well be more effective, particularly in the long run.
CITES, CBD, UNFCCC, UNCCD and the Ramsar Convention can be effective to a certain extent, especially in leading countries where policy mixes are efficient. However, opportunities for improvement have to be seized in negotiating MEAs and more inclusive approaches for various interests have to be adopted. Mediation services may play an integral part in assisting with negotiations of MEAs (Thakur et al., 2015: 107; Lorek and Fuchs, 2013: 37). The following section highlights the importance of drivers of ecosystem change in shaping conservation in southern Africa. These drivers are decidedly significant in current biodiversity conservation initiatives and should be emphasised.
3.4 Drivers of ecosystem change
There are several drivers which affect and determine the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem functions. The MEA identifies five primary drivers of ecosystem change: habitat change, climate change, invasive species, over-exploitation for purposes of subsistence and international trade (He et al., 2015: 711; Mantyka-Pringle et al., 2015: 105). These drivers can be direct or indirect, and determine biodiversity richness, distribution and conservation success or failure (Bellver-Domingo et al., 2016: 16). Losses of biodiversity have now become widespread and current rates are potentially catastrophic for species and habitat integrity (Gatti, 2016: 274). The loss of biodiversity will diminish the capacity of ecosystems to provide society with a stable and sustainable supply of essential goods and services (Dallimer et al., 2015: 313).
In southern Africa in particular, biodiversity loss in the 21st Century is of particular interest as nations in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region are strongly encouraged to take a stance on land cover changes (Biggs et al., 2008: 298). Central to this is identifying drivers of ecosystem change in order to device adaptation and mitigation measures. The pursuit of poverty alleviation in Africa in heavily intertwined in maintaining healthy ecosystems, biodiversity and wildlife (Kupika and Nhamo, 2016: 193). Together with SADC, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is meant to create coherence across the region to alleviate poverty and get southern African states in a position of sustainable growth and development (Roux et al., 2006: ix). NEPAD was founded to assist Africa out of economic depression and poverty with the major objective of empowering women (Kanbur, 2002: 87). It has its origins in the Millennium Declaration and the consequent MDGs with the objective of halving Africa’s poverty by 2015 (Muhibbu-Din, 2011: 2). It is designed in a manner that adheres to international standards and practices in order to secure financial support. In order for NEPAD to be seen as successful, the following have to be achieved: Peace and Security Initiative, the Democracy and Political Governance Initiative, the Economic Governance Initiative, and the Sub-Regional and Regional Approaches to Development (Olowoye, 2008: 10).
3.4.1 Habitat change and biodiversity loss
Habitat change is the current single greatest threat to terrestrial ecosystems (Little et al., 2013: 258). This change can occur through activities such as the building of roads and settlements and the clearing of land for agriculture (Mantyka-Pringle et al., 2015:108). Often rapid and occurring on large scales, habitat change can be exacerbated by factors such as climate, fire, large ungulates, invertebrates, pathogens, plant competition and increasingly, human impact (Jantz et al., 2015: 1129). Human-induced habitat change alters ecosystems and ecological functions resulting in loss and fragmentation of mutually existing ecosystems and individual species (Souza et al., 2015: 38). Ecological functions and absorptive capabilities of ecosystems are weakened by further reduction of biodiversity (Newbold et al., 2015: 46). Furthermore, well-meant but inadequate efforts to restore ecosystems or re-introduce species will have less and less influence on the depleted restorative capacity of species and their habitats (Vogiatzakis et al., 2015: 34).
Furthermore, agricultural land use is expanding in about 70% of the countries in the world (Letourneau et al., 2015: 220). Much of this expansion is happening at the expense of biodiversity. Additionally, timber trade destroys many biodiversity-rich areas around the world (Pfeifer et al., 2012: 1). Several timber-logging sites have not been sustainability-certified and illegal. These have led to fragmentation and destruction of habitats globally (Chaplin-Kramer et al., 2015: 7405). Biodiversity loss has a direct impact on poverty since it sustains both livelihoods and life itself (Chaplin-Kramer et al., 2015: 7405). To sustain a livelihood, biodiversity preserves the quality of air and water, maintains the fertility of the soils, disposes of wastes and controls population pests; decreased biodiversity, therefore, interferes with all manner of essential ecosystem functions (de Castro et al., 2016: 100).
For example, South Africa has a biological ‘mega-diversity’ (Rutherford et al., 2012: 1). This status is largely due to the Cape Floristic Region. The Cape Floristic Region is the most diverse and smallest of the world’s six floral kingdoms. The Cape Floristic Region is the only floral kingdom contained in one country (UNEP, 2011). The region of Renosterveld in Namaqualand, situated within the Cape Floristic Region is typically a grassy shrubland which has now been transformed into agricultural fields, with only a few patches of the original land cover visible (Sieben et al., 2016: 222). Land use in Renosterveld has been changing progressively; presenting ecologists and environmentalists with challenges of predicting land use issues that may arise in the future, in the meantime, biodiversity continues to be lost rapidly (Carrick et al., 2015:90). This uncertainty is brought about the need for previously marginalised communities to access land (Movuh and Schusser, 2012: 248). Similarly, Lesotho continues to experience extensive land use changes leading to extreme poverty and inequitable resource distribution (Lambert et al., 2016: 121). It has rapidly become evident that in a country with such huge disparities, a successful conservation strategy needs to also address development issues, and that the development of public-private partnerships will be crucial to effective conservation (Mekbib et al., 2015: 3856).
3.4.2 Conservation and invasive species
Patterns and threats by invasive species on indigenous species are diverse, with invasive species still considered a major cause of local plant and animal extinctions (Arcilla et al., 2016: 204; Montgomery et al., 2015: 220; Saxena, 2015: 1246), and in altering ecosystem functioning and community viability (Bellard et al., 2016: 2). An important factor in considering conservation is to assess the conservation value of invasive species (Thalmann et al., 2015: 1051). However; attention given to invasive species is typically ecological, focusing on prediction of spread and the development of control measures and less on the socio-economic impacts caused by changes in ecosystem services available (Helm et al., 2015: 291). It is, however, noted, that the adverse effects of invasive species have sparked interest from society, with species invasion now one of the major drivers of environmental change and biodiversity loss (McGeoch et al., 2015: 311). Closely linked to the spread of invasive species is the part played by climate change and international trade (Pettersson et al., 2016: 220: Seebens et al., 2015: 433). An overview of these two factors regarding changes in biodiversity is given in the two sections that follow.
3.4.3 Climate change and biodiversity loss
Biodiversity degradation and climate change are expected to overstretch the resilience of both communities and ecosystems in the long run (Jantz et al., 2015: 1129). Temperature and water balances are the main aspects of climate change and a change in any of these means implies a change in the distribution and abundance of both plant and animal species (Mokany et al., 2015: 2134; Eskelinen and Harrison, 2015: 13012). As net mortality of species becomes greater and species populations decrease, in a climate change scenario, progressive extinction follows (Mantyka-Pringle et al., 2015: 106). The elements of climate lead to altered drought, water scarcity and soil degradation patterns. Furthermore, it causes intensified land use conflicts and environmentally induced migration and the impacts of these issues on biodiversity is substantial (Angassa et al., 2012: 71; Watson et al., 2012: 2). In sub-Saharan Africa, climate change is predicted to decrease yields from rain-fed agriculture by 50% in the next 30 years (Dube et al., 2016: 222).
The regular occurrence of drought in sub-Saharan Africa highlights the inter-linkages between desertification and biodiversity loss hence the importance of the UNFCCC (Fisher et al., 2015: 292). Biodiversity loss among other things leads to a decrease in plant and soil organism species diversity thus decreasing nutrient cycling and reduced production (Li et al., 2015: 5144). All of these processes eventually lead to desertification which has proven almost impossible to reverse (Mau et al., 2015: 6). Current research and scientific knowledge are making it possible to assess, prevent and reverse desertification (Li et al., 2016: 104). Information and technology relevant to these activities continue to be developed. The next chapter briefly discusses these issues.
3.4.4 Information and technology in conservation
The ability to collect, analyse and communicate data within and between interest groups can promote the dialogue essential to eventual consensus (Tesfaye et al., 2012: 263). However, information technology is expensive to obtain, dependent on reliable infrastructure, and difficult to use and maintain (Soranno et al., 2015: 70). It is, however, vital that conservation and biodiversity data be availed for purposes of “geographic mapping and quantification of biodiversity” (Michener, 2015: 40). For these reasons, it is essential that information technologies be carefully and fairly distributed, especially when negotiations involve groups with uneven levels of information interpretation (Shapcott et al., 2015: 3; Böhm and Collen, 2011: 4).
Ecosystem functions and ecological processes occur at varying spatial and temporal scales (Weber et al., 2012: 1). The understanding of the viability of species populations could help develop improved practice and inform better decision-making (Selwood et al., 2015: 841). According to the concept of sustainable development, information should be reliable and based on sound knowledge in order to facilitate good decision-making by states, local government institutions and individuals (Hajer et al., 2015: 1652). It is significant to mention that users of environmental information are diverse and they may not be aligned with a single perspective of the environment (Kelly et al., 2015: 3). Experience in conservation has shown that useful and relevant data for traditional and academic institutions (including all research by NGOs and private organisations) is vital in designing proper response options to biodiversity degradation (Bennett et al., 2015: 77). Policy-makers and regulators understand the need to use reliable information for informed decision-making. Coordination between the scientific community and decision-makers enables a common level of communication through language, economic evaluations, case studies and visual tools (Pená et al., 2012: 11). Science and policy discourses have to coordinate in order to appreciate scale-sensitive ecological changes (Spash and Aslaksen, 2015: 247).
3.4.5 Conservation policy
Under conservation policy, knowledge in designing policy and implementation are important. There is a gap between those who design policy and those who implement it and integration of policy from different sectors is crucial (Helm et al., 2015: 719). Sectoral policies have spatial, social, cultural and other ramifications and they should be responsible for economic and social impacts (Rode et al., 2015: 276). Policy-making incorporates the participation of several actors, interests, attitudes and competency levels, while a policy is the outcome of that interaction (Turner et al., 2015: 173). The relationships among policy actors influence when and how a problem reaches the political agenda and how it moves through the stages of the policy process (Lovecraft et al., 2016: 16). By clearly identifying specific goals and objectives of each actor, the quality of information and participation is improved (Joppa et al., 2016: 416). The funding itself is usually insufficient to make available more appropriate policy intervention analysis (Baylis et al., 2015: 59). This eliminates administrative fragmentation and creates harmony in taking responsibility for issues across all sectors, both governmental and non-governmental (including authorisation procedures and constructive inter-departmental cooperation) (Haddaway and Bayliss, 2015: 828).
The way policy drives biodiversity loss is better understood by analysing issues such as institutional build and priorities (Sunam et al., 2016: 180). Cooke and Moon (2015: 157) add further dimensions to the analysis, which include decision-making and funding. Several scholars concur that the relationships among policy actors influence when and how a problem reaches the political agenda and how it moves through the stages of the policy process (Sarkki et al., 2015: 1387), suggesting that it is not a neutral process. Hence, the way policy drives biodiversity loss is better understood by analysing the dynamics of institutional build and priorities (Game et al., 2015: 310). By clearly identifying specific goals and objectives of each actor, the quality of information and participation is improved (Santos et al., 2015: 89).
Human values and perceptions have and will always shape management and policy objectives (Robinson, 2011: 11). Significant factors such as land use history, composition and functions of ecosystems and landscapes have to be considered during policy processes (Lambin and Meyfroidt, 2015: 111). Somarriba-Chang and Gunnarsdotter (2012: 11) state that where policy distortions such as inadequate and weak national economic policies exist, there is a danger of altering the economic and social value for biodiversity conservation to the detriment of biodiversity. Full costs and benefits of biodiversity become blurred and perverse effects are created (Squires, 2014: 145). Baudron et al. (2015: 901) draw on examples from policy in east Africa (Namibia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) which have been designed to favour agricultural production at the expense of conservation. Similarly, current policy in Namibia has been proven to artificially inflate the profitability of livestock farming while suppressing the benefits of conserving wildlife (Lindsey et al., 2013: 42). This trend has been changing somewhat, and policy and legislature are designed to treat conservation as a viable land use concept and with its high endemism, biodiversity richness in east Africa are on the rise (Young and Sing’Oei, 2011: 2). This may be in part to the controversial role played by international donor’s role in conservation policy development.
Significantly, donor funding is one of the major determinants of the success of conservation initiatives (Dinerstein et al., 2013: 20) in Africa. However, donor-funded biodiversity conservation initiatives are riddled with various challenges. Commonly, donors lack the necessary skill of programme evaluation techniques and therefore fail to follow-up on possible scenarios requiring attention for handing over to local communities (Wilson et al., 2013: 8). It, therefore, becomes challenging for local authorities to provide appropriate resources to invest in the rebuilding of communities when challenges arise (Daim et al., 2012: 212; Witter and Satterfield, 2014: 1397). Ideally, donor agencies are essential but should subsequently hand over technology and information to locals in the long-term (Ezeuduji and Rid, 2011: 208). Statistics show the support of a significant number of funding initiatives in Africa over the last decade (Waldron et al., 2013: 12144). However, Chandra and Idisova (2011: 3306) caution that if the efforts of these agencies are fragmented a challenge is imposed on the implementation of biodiversity conservation. Law (2016: 2) elaborates that NGOs are rarely mandated by legislation to perform and use funds effectively. For example, donor contribution in the Cameroonian forest reserve area of Takamanda introduced a new legislature for the use of natural resources (Pfund et al., 2011: 342). By law, all hunting, gathering, fishing and logging strictly require government permission (Asaha and Deakin, 2016: 55). These laws were not followed due to a number of reasons. Neither monitoring nor evaluation of the project was made after the establishment of the reserve and most decisions were top-down (Eneji et al., 2015: 239). The laws were never upheld by the community because they never felt ownership towards the reserve and they felt disrespected and sidelined, especially since they were not compensated or offered alternative means of livelihood (Jacob et al., 2015: 5). New strategies aim to improve institutional capacity at local levels thus promoting sustainable use of biological through the following (Newton et al., 2015: 28; Posner et al., 2016: 1763; Reid., 2015: 3):
• Combining direct biophysical measurements with economic valuation to estimate the monetary value of ecosystem services at the scale of decisions;
• Developing non-monetary methods for valuing human health and security, and cultural services, and incorporating these in easy-to-use, easy-to-understand, but rigorous tools for valuing ecosystem services; and
• Developing methods for identifying who benefits from ecosystem services, and where and when those who benefit live relative to the lands and waters in question.
The aim of these strategies should be to control or reverse the loss of biodiversity and treat biodiversity conservation and economic development as integral aspects of the same process of sustainable development (Ferreira et al., 2015: 230). Securing financial resources can also become a challenge if there is no political commitment and public awareness about biodiversity conservation matters. Marketing biodiversity-related ecosystem services have the potential to generate substantial financial resources and these can be used to meet certain financial challenges (Chandra and Idrisova, 2011: 3307). The discussion which follows is an assessment of the role played by international trade as a driver of biodiversity change.
3.4.6 Conservation and international trade
Degradation of particular species in many developing countries is caused by the demand in the developed world. Thirty percent of species threats are driven by international trade (Lenzen et al., 2012: 109). A total of 25 000 faunal species have been linked with goods produced in 187 countries around the world and these species are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List (Lenzen, et al., 2012: 109). More than 15 000 commodities and goods are produced from these species (Lenzen et al., 2012: 110). Birds are commonly used as indicators of biodiversity loss and several bird species in the world are under threat due to international pet trade (Massimino et al., 2015: 280). The solution may lie in the trade policies of different countries which determine the regulation and exploitation of biodiversity goods (Turner et al., 2012: 89). Similar to the CDM of the Kyoto Protocol, the UNFCCC (1998: 11) states that a credit mechanism for biodiversity loss due to factors that diminish biodiversity outside of natural causes aids in diminishing biodiversity loss. This could be done by encouraging voluntary international agreements for nations to compensate for biodiversity lost during trading (Smyth and Phillips, 2015: 1011).
Ignoring IKS drives further the erosion of ecosystems while failing to effectively control species sold over international borders (Butler et al., 2012: 4). Additionally; Uprety et al. (2012: 9) bring attention to the general challenges of alienation of rural communities by powerful groups in conservation strategy implementation and the protection of traditional resources and intellectual property rights (Shackleton et al., 2015: 330). To overcome the consequences of international trade, Jerneck and Olsson (2013: 3) highlight crucial livelihood concepts such as conditions of access to resources, achievements of food security and income generation in the harvest and sale of biodiversity products. Different sectors of society construct and exchange knowledge by giving and receiving their knowledge about their resources and patterns of change (Prado et al., 2015: 34). Women and the elderly as the main actors in maintaining livelihoods in rural areas provide a better understanding of responses and mitigation measures to changes (Aderinoye-Abdulwahab et al., 2015: 125). For example, with the increased export demands for primates and birds, the role of women in the Sahel has drawn on the kinship networks in the region to solidify responses to drivers of the ecosystem and environmental changes (Adeyinka, 2013: 42; Crane, 2013: 8). Women’s groups and other local institutions appreciate the adaptive dynamics and therefore respond better to changes. These interactions produce activities or strategies for mitigation in the face of biodiversity changes.
Alienation of communities from traditional lands complicates the problem of addressing ecosystem changes due to harvesting for trade purposes. Alienating communities from protected lands eliminates any knowledge base that local community members may possess about their traditional lands (Kelbessa, 2015: 391). This obscures states to base their conservation efforts on policies which will provide economic benefits for local communities while also attempting to integrate conservation initiatives with multiple sector policies (Goldman, 2011: 6). Recently, conservation strategies have been actively focusing on policies, institutional capacity, stakeholder participation and management biodiversity trade (Sinclair et al., 2011: 43). Climate change and pollutions have a very rapid increase in the impact they have on all ecosystems, impacting very highly tropical forests, temperate grasslands, wetlands and coastal ecosystems. Invasive species, on the other hand, appear to have a very high impact on island species and coastal areas.
Nelson et al. (2011), for example, highlight the impacts of population and consumption, worsened by climate change. Andres et al. (2012: 101) draw attention to biodiversity losses enhanced by existing policies and sectoral policies in particular. In addition, poorly planned and executed conservation strategies, coupled with these drivers, have exacerbated efforts to conserve biodiversity in a meaningful way (McShane et al., 2011: 966) – discussed in Section 3.8 in detail. This section leads to the discussion examining how communities respond to these changes, highlight, therefore the concept of socio-ecological resilience as opposed to ecological resilience.
3.5 Socio-ecological Resilience
In order to understand socio-ecological resilience, concepts such as resilience, adaptability and vulnerability are defined. Resilience refers to “the capacity of a system to absorb and utilise or even benefit from perturbations and changes which attain it and so to persist without a qualitative change in the system’s structure” (van der Leeuw and Aschan-Leygonie, 2005: 9). Petrosillo et al. (2015: 5) further explain how resilience reveals the fragility or brittleness of a system in the light of disturbances, and the ability of that system to heal itself into a former state or into a different robust state.
3.5.1 Building Resilience
Resilience thinking incites focus on response actions as opposed to the availability of resources. Human/ social systems are viewed as part of the ecological systems where they not only influence change but can, in turn, produce local ecological knowledge for effective management systems (Cote and Nightingale, 2012: 478). Resilience response actions such as those adopted in the coastal areas of Asia by the Coastal Community Resilience (CCR) initiative reduce community vulnerability to hazards. The CCR makes sure that in the face of hazards such as Tsunamis and other coastal disasters coastal communities might be vulnerable to, communities are capable of rebounding (Wood et al., 2015: 5356). Community challenges may be ecological, economic and/ or social. In order to build socio-ecological resilience, the starting point is to assess community risk to hazards. In Figure 3.3, the risk is the combination of hazards and vulnerability. Hazards represent the frequency and severity of changes and disasters while vulnerability represents the exposure and/ or the capacity of any community to any potential hazards and ecological changes (Modica and Zoboli, 2016: 60).
The transformation and persistence of humans and ecosystems are fundamental subjects of the socio-ecological policy discourse (Bamutaze, 2015: 261). Contemporary international debate on sustainable development by relevant sectors and disciplines explores possible adaptive and transformation mechanisms through the study of SES and integration of traditional management systems and knowledge (Toulmin and Brock, 2016: 43). In sub-Saharan Africa, for instance, it has been determined that ecosystems, people and technology, local knowledge, property rights and donor support are some of the major elements to be studied when investigating community resilience (Dixon and Carrie, 2016: 42; Biggs et al., 2015: 2). NGOs in Uganda are seen to fund only large projects without taking into consideration the diversity of traditional management systems in the region (Martiniello, 2015: 515). In such cases, small-scale projects allow communities flexibility when faced with hazards and can therefore easily regain function (Calvet-Mir et al., 2015: 158). What seems an appropriate adaptation measure for one system may not work for another or completely throw a different system off balance, thus causing it to lose its resilience (Thorn et al., 2015: 128). For example, land use changes such as the cultivation of a new species in one area may ultimately affect ecosystem functions such as pollination in other communities (Daron et al., 2015: 14).
For poor communities whose livelihood depend significantly on subsistence agriculture and natural resources, successful adaptation measures decrease vulnerability and increase resilience (Bamutaze., 2015: 261). Threats driven by drought, climate change and desertification are effectively identified in order to put adaptive measures in place for poor communities (Bourne et al., 2016: 2). Resilience thinking as emphasised by Cote and Nightingale (2012: 478) is a multidisciplinary dynamic and collective approach bringing focus to the unpredictability of hazards.
3.5.2 Biodiversity Surrogates
The impossibility of counting each individual species or assessing each individual community has led to the use of ‘surrogates’ as control areas to measure resilience within selected SES (Jones et al., 2016: 5). Measuring socio-ecological resilience within any SES requires context and clarity, while simultaneously addressing multiple aspects of resilience (Peterson, 2015: 3). Measuring resilience of SES has no custom method but the following approaches are common (Briassoulis, 2015: 1461; Walsh-Dilley et al., 2016: 2; Quinlan et al., 2015: 682):
• Stakeholder assessments: Aspects of SES resilience or vulnerability are identified through workshops aimed at building a common understanding of change in the SES.
• Model explorations: Models of the SES (such as scenarios or computer simulation models) are used to explore the potential thresholds for change, and identify measurable aspects of the SES that have systematic relationships to the modelled thresholds.
• Historical profiling: History of the SES is assessed to classify more-or-less distinct dynamic regimes and analyse events during the transitions. At these crucial times when resilience mattered, what changed and how?
• Case study comparison: SESs that have many similarities, but appear to be changing in different ways, are examined to assess observable properties that may be related to resilience. What is different among systems that appear to have quite different resilience?
Surrogates are forward-looking in nature and hence a good instrument to use in planning for anticipated socio-ecological changes especially in cases where threshold has been determined (McDowell, 2015: 125). Scale building indicators from the use of surrogates affect the approach of data collection and therefore analysis at multiple levels of surrogacy is essential (Sutcliffe et al., 2015: 659). In a study conducted to measure resilience within the area of Gabra in Kenya, findings show that it may be inadequate to measure current; it is equally essential to understand when and how changes may occur (Liao and Fei, 2015: 6). In situations where SES appears unable to maintain continuity, adaptation and mitigation measures are introduced for the continuity of such systems. These remedial measures are discussed in the following section.
3.5.3 Mitigation and Adaptation
African governments have prioritised addressing ecosystem and environmental change and ensuring socio-ecological resilience development through adaptation and mitigation (Pandey et al., 2015: 32). Both these concepts are underpinned by healthy biodiversity, as well as services, however, adaptation measures respond to the objectives of sustainable development than mitigation measures (MDG, 2012: 109).
Mitigation involves controlling the extent of damage to the environment while adaptation involves communities’ responses to changes that might occur. Increasing socio-ecological resilience is directly linked to increasing the adaptive capacity of SES (Lutz and Striessnig, 2015: s73). UNFCCC has incorporated not only mitigation measures but adaptation measures as well as its objectives. Creating synergies between mitigation and adaptation is meant to create socio-ecological resilience in responding to on-going and anticipated consequences of climate change in Africa (Anya et al., 2013: 55) as outlined in Section 3.4.3. Table 3.3 presents differences between adaptation and mitigation. Mitigation measures include national policies, which offer predetermined exposure of communities to hazards and policies will respond by redirecting human habitation of hazardous regions (Di Gregorio et al., 2017: 29). Adaptation, on the other hand, has to be dealt with on a smaller scale and it commonly entails communities and individuals managing surprise hazards in the areas if residence (Apgar et al., 2015: 8).
Table 3.2: Adaptation versus Mitigation (van Vuuren et al., 2011: 576)
Global good Local
Slow time constraints Short-term constraints
Requires anticipatory policy Can be anticipatory or reactive
The water sector, agriculture and food security, health and ecosystems, are all significant in the livelihoods of African communities and therefore all require adaptive strategies to cope with the future impacts of climate change (Shackleton et al., 2015: 333). The range and diversity of forest resources, survival of migratory species and water resources in Africa continue to be negatively affected by changes in climate regimes (Atyi et al., 2015: 88). Rippke et al. (2016: 5) state that climate change not only alters agricultural production but also places additional stress on regions already undergoing degradation.
3.5.4 African Livelihoods
Biodiversity conservation and human societies inadvertently affect one another and in order to conserve biodiversity, there has to be integration between conservation and human activities (Jepson et al., 2011: 230). The conservation of biodiversity is essentially about contributing to the welfare of humanity and preserving species and landscape integrity (Cox and Underwood, 2011: 2). Loss of species further jeopardises the balance of ecosystems, stressing other forms of life, which may depend on the maintenance of this balance (Demissew, 2011: 317). Under favourable climatic conditions, the control of invasive species controlled human interference and biodiversity conservation measures, ecosystems can recover to a certain degree, even though it might be impossible to return to their original state (Oliver et al., 2015: 679). Biodiversity conservation and its policy strive to restore these balances and focus on harmonising social, economic and ecological goals in order to improve human health, needs, literacy and livelihoods (Crouch and Smith, 2011: 305).
The nature and range of livelihoods that are found within any one society are complex. These are mostly found within multiple ecosystem services and through climate sensitive and primary sector economic activities (Ford et al., 2015: 810). All these elements are closely related to the conservation of biodiversity. With the protection of natural resources, their availability for activities such as cooking, heating, construction and grazing is limited (Stone and Nyaupane, 2016: 467). Thus, subsistence-based livelihoods are often perceived as a threat to conservation (Kahler and Gore, 2015: 56).
Biodiversity conservation strategy efforts often consider the changing nature of species which is more prone to changes in climate and loss of habitat and other direct and indirect drivers of change (Palmer and Di Falco, 2012: 49). Losses of biodiversity have now become widespread and current rates are potentially catastrophic for species and habitat integrity (Helm et al., 2015:718). These losses are likely to reduce the quantity and quality of goods and services that society derives from ecosystems. The quantity of nature should, however, not diverge from its dynamic character and oversimplify its content and quality (Shanahan et al., 2015: 481). Rural communities depend upon natural capital in the form of soil, water, climate and biodiversity that supports their lives as much as they do on the most tangible assets of money and property (Nakakaawa et al., 2015: 6). Figure 3.5 illustrates the impact that biodiversity degradation has on human health, both directly and indirectly.
Figure 3.4: Impacts of biodiversity degradation on human health (Corvalan et al., 2005: 1)
According to Figure 3.4, continued environmental stress at both local and global levels leads to several processes of degradation including climate change, desertification and freshwater depletion among others (Dietl et al., 2015: 99). These, in turn, impose unhealthy and negative environmental hazards such as floods, droughts, landslides or indirectly reduced food yields, depletion of natural remedies conflict among communities and population displacement thereof (Seng, 2012: 2). On a global scale, the rapid changes in biological diversity may threaten the maintenance of the fundamental ecological processes on which humanity depends for survival (Hoffman, 2011: 16). Sub-Saharan Africa has a population of approximately 856 million people and 240 million lack adequate food and depends mostly on biodiversity products and services (Bremmer, 2012: 1). The projected increase in population is exponential and changes in biodiversity are intensifying (Bongaarts and Casterline, 2013: 153). Common pool resources such as forests and rangeland will diminish, demanding households to seek other livelihood sources (Mackenzie and Hartter, 2013: 288). The plight of African rural communities is further worsened by the scourge of Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus/ Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/ AIDS) which continue to erode the quality of lives in Africa.
3.5.5 HIV/ AIDS
A healthy community is underscored by healthy ecosystems and these, in turn, depend largely on the availability of biodiversity. However, the pandemic of HIV/AIDS in southern Africa has shifted the attention of communities, government and donor agencies from biodiversity and nature conservation to building resilience within communities and families affected by the pandemic (Wirth et al., 2016: 56). This, combined with drought causing a major food crisis in the recent years meant the efforts of governments and others towards biodiversity conservation were lessened (McMichael et al., 2015: 1365). According to Mwendera (2010: 9), the IUCN presents the following statistics:
Southern Africa has the highest incidences of HIV/AIDS in the world, particularly in Botswana (35.8 %), Swaziland (25.3 %), Lesotho (23.6 %) and South Africa (22.6 %). There has been a general decline in life expectancy for all the countries in the region between 1995 and 1999/2000. The implications of the disease are enormous, and affect the water sector in the southern African countries in terms of demand and supply, sanitation and human resource capacity (including service provision).
This has caused a general shift in social, economic and political domains in the region. Environmental changes and biodiversity degradation have negative health implications on rural populations around the world. Biodiversity allows families to adapt to HIV/AIDS and other diseases and this makes the management and conservation of the resources paramount, especially in Africa (Usman et al., 2015: 126).
On a general environmental level, hazards in the atmosphere affect people living with HIV/AIDS negatively because of their already weakened immune systems. On another level, because HIV/AIDS infects mostly people who are economically active, children and the elderly are left to support their livelihoods thus traditional livelihood practices are lost (Ansell et al., 2016: 27). Furthermore, indigenous plants and animals are over-harvested in an attempt to provide traditional medicines for the ill (Masevhe et al., 2015: 368). This unsustainable harvesting eventually leads to severe biodiversity loss in areas where the rates of HIV infection are high (Lamorde et al., 2010: 45).
The link between and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and poverty in Africa is evident (Mufune, 2015: 15). HIV/AIDS and lack of sanitation and clean water in Uganda have led to fishing communities losing their livelihood because of illness (Tsai et al., 2016: 286). Similarly, it has been observed that in other African countries (IUCN, 2005: 3):
HIV/AIDS is reducing the biodiversity management capacities of conservation organisations including PA staff, and local communities…as AIDS-affected households lose salary earners and capacity for heavy agricultural and fisheries labour, they often turn to the unsustainable use of natural resources and fall into deeper poverty.
In countries such as Tanzania, the livelihoods of coastal fishermen whose families have been affected by HIV have been transformed from fishing to production of charcoal in order to supplement their incomes. The production of charcoal, in turn, puts more stress on local forest resources (Duwal et al., 2015: 55).
African countries are considered more vulnerable to issues of climate change and biodiversity degradation that the most developed countries as their adaptive capacities are low. Among other factors, which contribute to this inequitable distribution of impacts, is the conservation history of Africa that has played a fundamental role in shaping attitudes and perceptions of individuals and communities over time. In this respect, Larcom et al. (2016: 156) and Michalopoulos and Papaioannou (2015: 58) suggest that colonialism and post-colonialism in Africa have been factors in the inequitable distribution of impacts and access to resources and these are discussed in the next section.
3.6 Colonial Conservation Practices in Africa
Colonialism contributed immensely to the distribution of wildlife, biodiversity and human settlements in Africa (Amoateng and Heaton, 2015: 408). The arrival of European colonisers in the 1890s disrupted traditional systems and brought advanced transport, firearms, disease, war and radical European ways of control (Nugent, 2015: 1595). Colonial authorities dismissed Africa as a continent with no civilisation and promoted the notion of a continent with no knowledge base and riddled with backwards, destructive practices (Zoogah et al., 201: 17). Western knowledge was, therefore, the primary reference and the only means of advancing Africa out of ancient state (Barrett et al, 2016: 558).
3.6.1 Indigenous African Knowledge Systems (IAKS) and Biodiversity Conservation
Initially, conservation practices in Africa were broadly carried out through IAKS and their compatibility and applicability in modern-day conservation may still be explored (De Beukelaer, 2015: 483). In Zimbabwe, for example, attitudes, norms and practices were better understood through IAKS tools such as taboos, folktales, totems and the general acceptance of natural resources as communal property. These and other tools carry messages of conservation practices of the past (Makanyisa et al., 2012: 176). Through understanding and appreciation of certain norms, natural resources were managed sustainably as common property (Mawere, 2013: 6). Although not to be romanticised, IAKS were closer to the epitome of sustainability (Mawere, 2012: 2). Low intensive agricultural practices such as shifting cultivation were used instead of large-scale ploughing and harvesting. Hunting and gathering, and foraging were the primary means of harvesting biodiversity and these left minor impacts on the environment (Kasisi, 2012: 43). For African communities, natural resources in the form of agricultural land, pasture (rangelands), wildlife, tree products and fish were traditionally accessed via local chiefs, extended family structures and headmen and elders, in trust for the community (Smith et al., 2015: 23).
Additionally, territoriality, harvest regulations and seasons gave way to ecological and sociological controls over ecosystems and other natural resources (Young and Sing’Oei, 2011: 8). The necessity to control wildlife, fish and vegetation was not brought about by a global ecological purpose of conserving biodiversity but as a way of sustaining future livelihoods. There were traditional land tenure systems for forestry, water, grazing and subsistence were dismissed by governments during the introduction of new conservation strategies (Bocchino and Burroughs, 2013: 2).
The movements of human populations were controlled and their traditional ways of life turned into illegal activities, for example, traditional hunting was termed poaching (Conteh et al., 2015: 20). Rural Africans have had to make way for parks, reserves and PAs and populations have been compressed into small areas which have degraded over the years (Lameed et al., 2015: 326). Displacement from natural living areas, hunting grounds, agricultural fields and burial grounds, alienation and exclusion from accessing parks and PAs forced Africans to encroach into the newly protected land in order to access resources (Thondhlana and Shackleton, 2015: 30).
Through the European idea of pristine nature and conceived notions of African practices, African populations were marginalised and excluded from traditional lands and their livelihood sources (Mbaku, 2015: 402). Through technical and scientific terminology, African communities were further forced from their lands and this discourse continued into conservation practices implemented in Africa (Movuh and Schusser, 2012: 241).
Notwithstanding the coexistence of Africans with wildlife, leaders took it upon themselves to fault communities for the deterioration of wildlife and other resources (MacKenzie, 2016: 8). By the 1800s natural resources had taken a major knock from overexploitation in the name of infrastructural development such as railways and houses (Bryant, 2011: 462). The overexploitation of natural resources resulted in east and southern African regions losing game animals by the thousands and local people dying from starvation within a very short period of time (Bocchino and Burroughs, 2013: 2). Savanna grasslands and biodiversity were declining at an alarming rate (Petursson and Vedeld, 2015: 259).
Frustrations were felt from all sides, Africans and Europeans alike, and Africans fought and wars arose (Matema and Andersson, 2015: 114). These wars over access to resources are still being fought into the 21st Century (Straus, 2012: 185; Bob et al., 2014: 32). The movement of game and pastoralists had been disrupted. Livestock had now swiftly shifted from grazing pastoral land to what was originally wildlife territory and wildlife had been forced into little corners where they were easily gunned down for their skins (Wario et al., 2016: 225). This period was followed by extinction of several mammal and fish species and near extinction of several others with an increased demand for animal products such as animal hides, ivory and rhino horns which formed the main animal-based exports from Africa (O’Connor et al., 2016: 115).
Population explosion compounded the downward spiral of African populations due to improvement in medicine and its accessibility (Young and Sing’Oei, 2011: 46). The Economic loss followed as herders and agriculturists came into conflict over land use and broken down trade rules (Nyambura, 2011: 79). During this time, traditional African institutions changed in order to adjust to being a part of new governance for the protection of natural resources and the well-being of local populations (Sarkki et al., 2018: 330). During this transition, local populations lived in a state of uncertainty about their rights towards land and natural resources use (Gandiwa et al., 2013: 134). Not only did these measures change the socio-political and physical landscape in Africa, they completely affected the perceptions of local people towards conservation initiatives (Mwatwara and Swart, 2015: 581). Many of these measures included restricting local population access to biodiversity and its products (Mgaya, 2016: 47). Local population inclusion in the planning and executing of conservation strategies continues to be a challenge.
3.6.2 Planning Community-based Conservation
The effects of policy and policy changes on stakeholders are seen in the outcomes of policy actions (Gurney et al., 2015: 2). The means and the degree to which each stakeholder participates as well as the choice and the manner in which a strategy is implemented are equally important (Predavec et al., 2015: 500). Planning practice influences to a great extent the perceptions of participants in biodiversity conservation (Schroth et al., 2015: 150). If the process is perceived by participants as unfair, and there is a sense of domination and intimidation; the process usually falls apart (Buerki et al., 2015: 5). Input into the planning of any conservation project will greatly affect its output. In the scenario represented in Figure 3.5, elements such as stakeholder identification and characterisation at the beginning of each project are vital for its continued support (Luyet et al., 2012: 214).
Figure 3.5: Stakeholder participation interface in a project context (Luyet et al., 2012: 214)
Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe in southern Africa have promoted NRM through the promotion of extensive participation, especially in tourism-related activities in order to improve rural livelihoods (Ellis et al., 2015: 399; Mbaiwa, 2015: 71). Lenao and Saarinen (2016: 118), however, assert that in reality local participation rarely exists, and the majority of the community is usually left out with only a minority being consulted and included in planning and implementation of strategies. Collaboration among stakeholders is needed in the application of varying conservation strategies (Cox and Underwood, 2011: 4).
3.7 Parks, Reserves and PAs
The IUCN defines a PAs as “a clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values” (Costello et al., 2015: 508; Phillips, 2015: 29). PAs are divided into six distinct categories based on the function they perform. Category I and II are the most popular in Africa and are redefined by strict protectionism (Ferraro et al., 2013: 2). Categories III and IV are characterised by semi-strict protectionism with category VI encompassing both ecological and social aspects of conservation (Gaston et al., 2015: 1133). Category VI which supports the sustainable flow of resource and ecosystem services for communities is the least popular in Africa (Françoso et al., 2015: 37). Categories V and VI may allow a certain quota for extracting resources (Oldekop et al., 2016: 138). Table 3.4 presents different types of PAs and their objectives.
Table 3.3: PA categories by the IUCN (Synge, 2009: 5)
Category Objective Example
I PA managed mainly for science or wilderness protection Strict National Park/ Wilderness Area
II PA managed mainly for ecosystem protection and recreation National Park
III PA managed mainly for conservation of specific natural features Natural Monument
PA managed mainly for conservation through management intervention Habitat/ Species Management Area
V PA managed mainly for landscape/ seascape conservation and recreation Protected Landscape/ Seascape
VI PA managed mainly for the sustainable use of natural ecosystems Managed Resource PA
PAs are currently being designed to meet the objectives of biodiversity conservation while allowing for the economic development of neighbouring communities (Rozwadowska, 2011: 5). Alternatively, other management concepts include privately owned and community-owned PAs. Private PAs are characterised by a freehold or long-term leasehold funded by a private investor and managed for nature tourism, game-based ventures such as a safari (Miranda et al., 2016: 301). In order to get funding from multilateral banks, investors have to display ways in which such a venture will benefit neighbouring communities and offer a plan of payoffs for ecosystem services provided by the proposed private PA (Igoe and Brockington, 2016: 445). Management of private PAs can either be completely restrictive or adopt a control access system for resource harvesting (Maciejewski et al., 2015: 19). They have been accepted for their increasing contribution towards wildlife protection worldwide. The second alternative form of management is the concept of community-owned PAs. The introduction of community-owned PAs is meant to return the benefits of running private PAs to communities who are responsible for them (Fitzgerald, 2015: 183). Although no absolute win-win situation can be achieved there can be three possible scenarios of a possible win or loss for both biodiversity and local populations.
Scenario A would show the establishment of a conservation area in an area previously occupied by people even though potentially beneficial to biodiversity. The community, in this case, becomes the loser (Di Marco et al., 2016: 395). Scenario B would be a situation where communities are allowed to sustainably harvest resources while maintaining biodiversity integrity and ecosystem functions and cause no major changes to the environment (Cordingley et al., 2016: 102). Lastly, Scenario C would be an ideal situation where both communities and biodiversity ‘win’ from well-formulated conservation strategies which involve communities in decision-making processes (Daw et al., 2016: 6950). In practice, however, these management scenarios are usually riddled with access to land and resources conflicts.
Access to resources within and outside PAs may ultimately determine the success or failure of initiatives (Clements and Milner?Gulland, 2015: 83). Cattle owners, for instance, may perceive PAs as a restriction which limits their rangeland. For purposes of thatch, medicine and wood, the PAs may not be perceived by the community as presenting any restriction since the can still access these resources in other areas outside the reserve; and this was also true for communities living further away from the Mahushe Shongwe game reserve (King, 2007: 210). Caution is necessary, however, because access to and extraction of biological resources within PAs have been criticised as being ecologically unsound (Ebua et al., 2011: 634; McShane et al., 2011: 967). Human populations, however, continue to go deeper into poverty and protected resources are consistently poached; failing to meet their objectives of biodiversity protection and not contributing anything to human livelihoods (Baird and Leslie, 2013: 1139). Positive residents’ perceptions towards a project to improve their attitudes and increase their level of participation and thus improving the chance of success of the project (Sirivongs and Tsuchiya, 2012: 94).
Countries such as South Africa have a high diversity of both fauna and flora and an equally high population in rural areas. It also has its fair share of contested issues concerning PAs. Some parts in Kwazulu-Natal (KZN), for example, have areas used by locals and heavily populated with PAs (Joubert et al., 2016: 729). Among other management adoptions, fencing has been introduced for a number of these PAs to keep both wildlife and human apart in order to optimise safety for humans, wildlife and livestock and to stop the spread of disease (Burgoyne et al., 2016: 221). Other decisions include economic projects for local farmers and the general population in order to compensate for the losses of land and resources for the community. A high dependence on ecosystem services has made negotiations for trade-offs very difficult in the area (Millspaugh et al., 2015: 128). The possible scenario is that if people do not feel justified in giving up their tenure to land resources, there is likely to occur overlap in land uses, making PAs less effective (Hitayezu et al., 2015: 15). Related to PAs is the subject of tourism, this is discussed in the next section with specific interest to Africa.
3.7.1 Tourism and Conservation in Africa
PAs can also be in the form of joint tourism ventures partnering communities, the private sector and/ or government. There are joint tourism ventures which are contractual enterprises between communities and the private sector (Novelli, 2015: 84). The rights and responsibilities to benefits and maintenance of such ventures fall to both parties. A common partnership can take the form of the community controlling hunting quotas which it leases to trophy hunters or the establishment of a tourism lodge on communal land with a formal agreement and with a clear set of payment options (Sai et al., 2015: 41).
The Masebe National Park in Limpopo in South Africa has recently adopted a new management model introducing a system where authority is spread across community leaders and governments departments (Boonzaaier, 2012: 9). Responsibilities of all the stakeholders are hugely determined by tenure on land that belongs to the government. The current management approach is meant to give more control to the communities (Boonzaaier, 2012: 9). Even in cases where financial benefits have been promised like eco-tourism ventures, there emerge situations where local communities feel the need to be compensated for other reasons (Cheung, 2015: 39). In Uganda communities living adjacent to PAs and forest reserves feel they should further be compensated for the loss of crops to monkeys from the reserves (Mugume et al., 2015: 1000). The viability of such a strategy comes into question if residents are still dissatisfied with the benefits they receive and continue to ‘illegally’ harvest resources from PAs (Karanth and Nepal, 2012: 384).
Research has discovered that negative attitudes of residents may be directed towards the management of the PAs as opposed to the PAs themselves (Sladonja et al., 2012: 1125). Support for PAs often decreases when residents feel that although they may have been consulted during PA establishment, communication completely ends between themselves and the management when the implementation is completed (Sladonja et al., 2012: 1126). Different outcomes have been observed where residents felt they were completely included during and after implementation and they perceived PAs to be catering to their needs and interests (Pacheco et al., 2012: 3173; Sladonja et al., 2012: 1127).
Financing is a very crucial part of the establishment of PAs and CBC for the maintenance of policy and continued participation of relevant stakeholders (Mannetti et al., 2015: 130). Governance and local capacity building in maintaining resources and improving management approaches require both financial and political commitment (Andrade and Rhodes, 2012: 3). Alternative compensation in the form of infrastructure (roads, schools, churches or hospitals) falls short of adequately paying for lost ecosystem services, land and other cultural and livelihood aspects and belonging (Persson et al., 2015: 15; Wymann von Dach et al., 2015: 10).
Through the following identified actions positive livelihood choices can be achieved in the establishment of PAs: more income, reduced vulnerability, well-being, improved food security and environmental sustainability; and these can partly be achieved through eco-tourism income paying jobs that offer sustained modes of livelihood and compensation in the long run (Maciejewski et al., 2015: 15). Lessons learned in many of the failed community-based conservation establishment have highlighted the significance of evaluation of strategies in order to measure progress (Mamo, 2015: 31; Stone and Nyaupane, 2016: 145). The design of conservation strategies should be able to incorporate provisions for both ecological and social values of ecosystem services. They are offered positions of garden maintenance and cleaning and are rarely in any management positions (Lupoli et al., 2015: 740). There is a stigma of charity associated with eco-tourism ventures and local community members are not offered decision-making positions (Hansen et al., 2015: 395; Pienaar et al., 2013: 317). Financial benefits in this manner do not empower communities and can be described as passive participation where communities are informed of decisions already made (Crainer, 2015: 48).
Establishment of buffer zones encourages communities to practice sustainable resource harvest without breaching the laws of PAs (Sharma and Kandel, 2015: 105; Ramirez-Gomez et al., 2016: 70). In an attempt to relieve stress in PAs, communities are often encouraged to use the buffer zones. Studies conducted in certain developing countries show a positive relationship between compliance and establishment of buffer zones (Andrade and Rhodes, 2012: 4).
3.8 Conservation Approaches and Programmes in Africa
Several conservation strategies have been developed and many of them have been adopted in various countries in Africa with varying degrees of success. These include debt-for-nature swaps, integrated conservation and development projects, CBNRM and Extractive reserves. These are discussed in the sub-sections that follow.
3.8.1 Debt-for-Nature Swaps
Developing countries have high foreign public debts and they are notoriously dependent on bilateral and multilateral agencies for finance (Woo and Kumar, 2015: 710). In the 1980s debt-for-nature swaps emerged as a programme to effectively help poor countries with their debt by inviting them to sell or swap their debt for effective environmental protection (Isla, 2015: 80). There are three types of swaps: bilateral debt swaps (debt owed by one government to another), commercial debt swaps (debt owed by a government to a commercial bank) and private-to-private debt swaps (creditor and debtor are private sector companies and government has limited or no role) (Conservation Finance Alliance, 2002: 6).
NGOs such as The Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) and Conservation International have all been involved in purchasing debt in exchange for nature conservation in developing countries (Cassimon et al., 2011: 94; Shandra et al., 2011: 382). The aim of debt-for-nature swaps is to reduce debt while simultaneously making funds available for nature conservation in poor countries (Dalal et al., 2015: 290). A developing country is encouraged to swap some of its foreign debt in exchange for the improvement of nature conservation (Macekura, 2016: 49).
Some of the benefits acknowledged for this programme to debtor countries are both direct and indirect and include the following (Mateo, 1993 cited in Greiner and Lankester, 2007: 461):
• Reduce the level of external debt;
• Encourage international aid by broadening investment opportunities;
• Improving the balance of payment situation by replacing foreign currency liability with local currency liability;
• Facilitate the domestic flow of funds to a sector that is generally neglected (environment);
• Strengthen government institutions and private organisations involved in the environmental conservation; and
• Facilitate the funding of medium and long-term projects, with the issuing of deferred maturity bonds.
One of the limitations of debt-for-nature swaps is the inability to distinguish the role played by NGOs and national governments in the governance of environmental policy and sustainability (Gupta, 2015: 416; Shandra and Shor, 2015: 14). Madagascar provides a perfect example of global environmental governance, where international NGOs are running public environmental agencies and are therefore in a position to identify problems and effectively provide solutions and funding to the said problems (Cullman, 2015: 31). Secondly, some debt-for-nature swaps are criticised that they give priority to nature conservation above the livelihood and rights of local communities dependent on natural resources (Arévalo and Ladle, 2016: 175). According to NGOs such as Conservation International, CBC is ineffective and the best way to practice conservation is to have a people-free African wilderness (Macekura, 2016: 69). A third limitation in debt exchange for environmental protection is that poor countries’ obligations to protect their environments may prove financially costly (Gutman, 2016: 135). CBNRM and ICDP are used to describe conservation strategies implemented at the community level. These include community-based wildlife conservation, eco-tourism, extractive reserves, integrated conservation and development strategies, water stewardship and sustainable forest initiatives.
3.8.2 Extractive Reserves
Extractive reserves as opposed to strictly protectionist approaches are designed to complement the sustainable use of protected resources (forest, marine, wildlife and other resources) (Carmenta et al., 2016: 4; Santos and Brannstrom, 2015: 47). Extractive reserves are fairly effective in achieving land tenure rights for communities, however, a challenge arises when trying to maintain sustainable use of resources by communities (Rao et al., 2016: 171). The objectives of extractive reserves are multifaceted, they regulate carbon sequestration which provides a sustainable livelihood for reserve dwelling communities (Pfeifer et al., 2012: 7). Natural scientists, however, state that extractive reserves have the main objective of maintaining ecological functioning and preserving species (Mugume et al., 2015: 469; Ruiz-Frau et al., 2015: 13).
Similar to other biodiversity conservation strategies, there are on-going debates about the effectiveness of extractive reserves. These debates revolve around issues such as the extent of decision-making, which should be accorded to communities, and whether regulations of extractive reserves as set by governments in consultation with communities are effective (Kroetz et al., 2015: 342). Extractivism can involve either one or all of the following activities in an area: hunting, fishing, timber extraction, a collection of wild plants and fruit and water collection (Rode et al., 278; Van Riel et al., 461; Wakefield, 2015: 9). There is a general recognition that quotas are necessary to regulate the extraction of resources (Gómez-Baggethun and Muradian, 2015: 218). This sole focus on numbers will not, however, be effective in governing the ecological impact of the extracted resources and the complexities which surround the ecosystem function in which they occur (Matiku et al., 2012: 190).
In the Katavi-Rukwa region in Tanzania, extraction is a large part of the conservation strategies in the area and reports show that there is a high rate of timber extraction and illegal hunting which have ultimately reduced tree coverage and wildlife numbers enormously (Caro, 2015: 1011). Although there is no guarantee that this will work, it has been recommended that villagers be given legal power to control extraction of resources by big corporations (Ferrari et al., 2015: 60; Osei-Tutu et al., 2015: 27). Where such a strategy is used, the regulation of ecological functioning, continued research and regular monitoring of resources is recommended with precautions to anticipate unexpected biodiversity changes future changes (Ngaruiya, 2015: 106).
3.8.3 Community-Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM)
There are different approaches to the design of CBNRM and these may at times depend entirely on the resources under protection. Natural resources may include but are not limited to forests, coastal resources, wildlife, rangeland and wetlands. CBNRM has the following characteristics (Fabricius, 2009: 1; Medvey, 2010: 10):
• It is planned and controlled at the community level;
• The process is owned by the community;
• Depending on the tenure, individuals or whole communities own resources;
• Its dominant objective is to meet the needs of rural livelihood while conservation values are integrated; and
• Platforms of trade-offs are necessary where resources are either significant or insignificant to rural economics or culture.
With the main objective of returning the stewardship of ecosystem and natural management to local communities, CBNRM has been globally adopted in different forms with equally different outcomes (Mosimane and Silva, 2015: 102; Weber et al., 2015: 391). The concepts of “participatory engagement, indigenous knowledge and community needs in pursuit of combined objectives involving social justice, poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation” have been at the centre of CBNRM (Dressler et al., 2010: 1). It has, however, been riddled with deficits even in areas where it appeared to be working (Moswete and Thapa, 2018: 103). The irretrievable losses of biodiversity that happened during colonial and post-independence periods have led to alternative regimes on NRM (Mufune, 2015: 122). These include all forms of CBNRM. CBNRM has been adopted throughout southern Africa as a ‘win-win approach’ to conservation and community development (Andrade and Rhodes, 2012: 7). As a policy tool, CBNRM works on a promise of ownership of conservation strategies and benefits for local populations (Jones et al., 2015: 26).
CBNRM is by nature a bottom-up approach to conservation and development. It stems from the basic principle that people’s interests in a common goal bring about collaborative governance (Reyers et al., 2012: 504). Governments may set strategies, prepare plans and policies, however, the fundamental issue is to get buy-in from affected communities (Ezebilo, 2012: 1584). In South Africa, for example, biodiversity conservation has been discovered to lack community involvement in advocating for the sustainable use of biodiversity and, therefore, biodiversity conservation in South Africa can benefit from broad public participation (Crouch and Smith, 2011: 306). Although participation in decision-making is not a guarantee for success, community involvement is crucial in giving conservation initiatives positive outcomes (Noe and Kangalawe, 2015: 246).
International donors in range management, environmental conservation and agricultural development share a perception that African rural communities are the only negative actors in biodiversity degradation (Bare et al., 2015: 8; McClanahan et al., 2015: 4). The language and actions of these actors tend to establish, promote and replicate a discourse that places communities at the centre of environmental destruction and rarely considers other drivers of environmental change and biodiversity degradation (Lamers et al., 2015: 223; van der Duim et al., 2015: 11).
In recent years, NRM has been decentralised to be managed by local authorities (Porter-Bolland et al., 2012: 16). The move from centralised NRM has been more successful in some countries than others. There is still very little evidence, except for Zimbabwe and Namibia, that CBNRM has been successful (Lapeyre, 2015: 14; Siachoono, 2015: 15). Full commitment from central governments to transfer rights to the lowest levels of authority might be essential, clear mandates for all stakeholders including local interest groups, local government, line departments and NGOs have to be clarified.
Top-down conservation management action in Africa has received little input from residents (Campbell et al., 2012: 3; Graham, 2015: 12). Many tourism-based conservation strategies, for example, limit the interaction of residents with tourists (Liu et al., 2012: 11). When residents surrounding PAs and National Parks are rarely informed about decisions concerning the PAs, including developing laws and regulations within tourist areas, it becomes impossible for them to uphold regulations and participate in tourism activities and authorities have to find hostile ways to keep them out of demarcated areas (Chan and Xin, 2015: 97). Getting residents involved in decision-making has more advantages for both residents and PAs than when residents are kept in the dark about policies concerning conservation in their own area (Chowdhury et al., 2013: 7).
In contrast, bottom-up approaches are hoped to reduce conflicts that arise from non-inclusion of local communities in decision-making surrounding PAs, not only to ensure success but to also improve the livelihoods of communities (Torri, 2011: 56). Although both are trying to fulfil the requirements of sustainable development, the bottom-up and top-down approaches may lead to projects that emphasise either nature or local communities. According to Horwich and Lyon (2007: 377), CBC should possess the following characteristics:
• Varying degrees and levels of community participation;
• The approach to the whole process has to be inclusive and holistic;
• Implementation should allow flexibility; and
• Small-scale conservation as financially viable.
Although often realistic, the concept of community conservation strategies should not be over-simplified (Buono et al., 2012: 193). Assumptions about how communities react to such initiatives should be avoided. There are three major aspects that should be taken into consideration when engaging communities in conservation initiatives (Boiral and Heras-Saizarbitoria, 2015:13; Robson and Rakotozafy, 2015:10; Phillips, 2015: 27):
• There are multiple actors with different changes and these can be determined by individual circumstances;
• There different ways in which people interrelate at various levels; and
• There are formal and informal rules that people apply to their interaction with nature.
The basic model of CBNRM is based on the decentralisation of authority for NRM from government and NGOs to communities (Lin and Liu, 2016: 103). Using this strategy suggests that rural communities directly control the sustainable use and benefits of natural resources in and around PAs (Fernández-Giménez et al., 2015: 60). Limited benefits, however, restrict interest from communities who may sabotage efforts of NRM (Mosimane and Silva, 2015: 107; Mufune, 2015: 130). To overcome this hindrance, transparency in the planning process encourages the exchange of arguments and exchange of views with the goal of reaching a common platform (Swensen, 2012: 215). This may be complicated by the complex nature and range of livelihood that are found within any one society (Pinho et al., 2015: 645; Gerlitz et al., 2015: 159). Therefore; the combination of formal analysis and local knowledge are vital in identifying key quality places for biodiversity maintenance, development and enhancement (Campos et al., 2011: 760).
3.8.4 Challenges of CBNRM
The design and practice of CBNRM have consistently presented problems (Reid, 2015: 3). Reaching the twin goals of biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation is continually challenged by the role of land tenure and common property resources. Forests and coastal resources and hunting combined with land tenure and leadership dynamics play a significant role in the discussion, implementation and monitoring of CBNRM initiatives (Kahler, 2012: 179).
Perceptions of communities will differ in relation to different biodiversity conservation needs. Perceptions of an approachable and interested government are ideal for general community support (Masud and Kari, 2015: 140). Separating land tenure and resource tenure hardly motivates communities to maintain healthy ecosystems. In Kenya, for example, community group ranches have access to land but not the wildlife found within those lands and this prompts selling of land for another purpose other than wildlife protection and ends up creating conflicting land uses (Okello et al., 2011: 2).
Communal Land Ownership in Africa and Common Property Resources
Land in Africa is mostly communally owned and governance is upheld by traditional authorities on behalf of governments (Doss et al., 2015: 405). Common property resources regime is defined “to be a set of institutional arrangements that define the conditions of access to and control over a range of benefits arising from collectively used natural resources” (Swallow and Bromley, 1995: 100 cited in Magole et al., 2010: 603). This collective claim causes disparities in the use of common property and resources in Africa. As Billé et al. (2012: 7) illustrate, using the example of Botswana, poor households depend on more on common property and resources than well-off households who derive a lower percentage of their livelihoods from common property resources.
Ethnic relationships, education and land tenure further compound these challenges (Nielsen et al., 2013: 68). Different communities hold different values and customs in relation to natural resource use and significance, and these, therefore, will determine their openness and acceptance towards certain types of conservation (Larson, 2010: 1149). During CBNRM campaigns it becomes a challenge to obtain a decision from communities who have different levels of livelihoods and institutional standing (Mukwada and Manatsa, 2012: 80).
Generalisations are usually made towards institutions which are highly variable when it comes to forming and function and it is essential for governments to create cohesive regimes and enabling external environments in order to incorporate security of land tenure and access to biodiversity into conservation strategies (Mosimane and Silva, 2015: 100). This challenge may be overcome by outlining the common livelihood strategies between different household types and the resources that are common to both (Nielsen et al., 2013: 65). Governance remains the main challenge in managing the commons in Africa (Winter et al., 2015: 1220). Policy and institutional development of local communities remain heavily embedded in comprehensive CBNRM as opposed to localised forms and strategies involving and empowering communities in making NRM decisions (Mufune, 2015: 122). In essence “there is a disparity between the institutional activities and management of resources” (de Morais et al., 2015: 156; Epstein et al., 2015: 37). Popular examples of CBNRM strategies include CAMPFIRE and ADMADE.
CAMPFIRE started in the 1980s with a strong focus on community-based conservation and PES (Khumalo., 2015: 23). This approach has been adopted in other southern African countries such as Botswana, Namibia and Zambia (Siachoono, 2015: 13). In Zambia, ADMADE was launched in 1989 with similar objectives to those of CAMPFIRE in order to generate economic benefits from biodiversity conservation for local communities while at the same time integrating these communities in decentralised institutions (Salerno et al., 2015: 702). In the long run, both these projects were affected by the economic and political situations in both Zimbabwe and Zambia (Harrison, 2015: 154). Coupled with this was the failure for the projects to benefit the communities for which they were established. The nature of conservation strategies is such that not one of them is has a uniform approach to biodiversity protection and conservation (Muyengwa, 2015: 612). The adoption of any conservation strategy is not only complex but can be demanding as well (Somarriba-Chang and Gunnarsdotter, 2012: 1). Other issues such as food security through agricultural production are similarly worth discussing.
In rural Africa, agricultural production has been closely linked to the investment that farmers place on the security of tenure. With secure land tenure, agricultural production (and sustainable agricultural production specifically) are likely to increase due to the adoption of new technologies and information, bringing more returns and sustaining livelihood in the long run (Otsuka and Place, 2013: 2). Communities and individuals may still be greatly in touch with their traditional and cultural values and livelihoods but their needs may be strongly entwined with the broader socio-political nature of southern Africa (Wittmayer and Büscher, 2010: 764). The dual legal system in Lesotho has been blamed for the lack of land security for both females and children. Issues of land ownership, marriage and inheritance are usually confused between the common and customary legal systems used in the country. Although recently rectified, both legal systems have treated women as legal minors who would not make any decision to enter into any binding contract without the consent of the husband, even in cases where the husband would be deceased (USAID, 2007: 5). This has therefore been the culture of Basotho through history and although many laws are changing to accommodate women and children, the practice, especially in rural settings, is still the norm. For instance, the payment of lobola (bohali – bride price) in Lesotho can be twofold as Murray (1981: 146) explains:
It is impossible to isolate the material or ‘economic’ aspect of bohali transfers from their ideological or ‘cultural’ aspect and to ascribe priority to one or the other. Bohali is ‘cultural’ in that Basotho effect resolutions of personal identity with reference to the transactions…and they also rationalise such transactions retrospectively. Bohali is also ‘economic’ in that transfers in livestock and cash is substantial items of income and expenditure in household budgets.
This, therefore, represents the transfer between in-laws of the bride’s productive and reproductive capacities to her husband’s family, while at the same time providing finances, land or livestock for the new family to start off (Kotzé, 2013: 18). This illustrates the power that customary, as opposed to the common law, still holds in Lesotho’s rural communities. Lesotho is a prominently patriarchal society (Hlalele and Letsie, 2011: 160). There is, however, a rising age of marriage in Lesotho, especially for males and this has changed the roles played by both males and females, however, it has not affected significant gender inequalities which still occur (Harrison et al., 2013: 97). The link between early marriages which inevitably comes with childbearing and education is that women will rarely continue their education after getting married and for most African countries fulfilling MDG 3 (promote gender equality and empower women) continues to be a challenge (Ringheim and Gribble, 2010: 12).
3.8.5 Integrated Conservation and Development Projects (ICDPs)
There are usually two worldviews on the concept of conservation projects: the biocentric view and the sustainable development view (Bosworth, 2011: 17). The biocentric view usually regards the protection of nature as the fundamental goal for integrated projects while the anthropocentric view considers community development as the goal and the objective of integrated projects as the means to that end (Chikadel, 2011: 6). Following this, it has become essential for nations to ensure that the needs of communities are met while simultaneously conserving the natural environment (Chase et al., 2011: 213).
There has been evidence that the integration of conservation and development programmes improves the success rate of projects (Svadlenak-Gomez et al., 2016: 5; Liu et al., 2012: 2). In Namibia, communities were asked to draw their own boundaries and therefore help design a conservation area to be exclusively managed by them similar to privately owned conservancies in the country (Muyengwa, 2015: 616). In this manner conflicts between NGOs, government and communities are managed in order to optimise economic outputs of natural resources (Chikadel, 2011: 21).
Resources-oriented activities aim to integrate human society with the environment to facilitate the smooth control of natural processes (Brooks et al., 2013: 4). Although these may be true, these activities aim to regulate the exploitation of natural resources for long-term interest (Wronski et al., 2015: 362). The approach differs from nation to nation. Evidence has shown that in areas where local people derive benefits and were consulted about conservation plans, success has been high (Gurney et al., 2015: 1). Making reference to completed or on-going successful projects make it possible to develop criteria that outline factors that can prove essential to measure and judge the success of integrated projects (Butt, 2016: 98).
Conservation development projects do not necessarily benefit households but are rather used for common property benefits and this largely depends on whether funds ever reach the communities (Roe et al., 2015: 1). The fact is, private companies are not indebted to disclose precise figures made from running their businesses and the net profits they accrue thereof (Serenari et al., 2015: 4). It is impractical to believe that with current practices in ICDP, households can adequately be compensated with any noticeable amounts and the sustainability of such practice would be in question (Hohl et al., 2015: 34).
ICDPs came as a response to meet the needs of local communities outside parks and reserves. The underlying factor of ICDPs is the necessity to reconcile effective conservation with development objectives for long-term community benefits (Andrade and Rhodes, 2012: 6). A broad range of activities are encouraged through ICDPs: sustainable harvesting of resources; use, production and marketing; eco-tourism; conservation education; social services (schools, health clinics, sanitation and electricity); small-scale forestry; bioprospecting; the development of micro industries such as crafts; and other income-generating projects (Srinivasan, 2015: 1062).
With the help of NGOs, the projects are funded and formulated to assist communities with alternative sustainable development initiatives when their basic livelihoods are suddenly affected by the creation of parks and reserves (Coria and Calfucura, 2012: 5). Nevertheless, many ICDPs fail to create and formulate these alternatives as an incentive to reduce the dependence of communities on biodiversity (Lui et al., 2012: 2), yet they also seem to be failing to contribute substantially to community development (Winkler, 2011:64).
In general, ICDPs failed to address issues such as loss of access rights to land and resources and they failed to develop a good quota of biodiversity protection in buffer zones and outside park boundaries. It is, therefore, difficult to adequately say whether ICDPs contribute to biodiversity conservation (Duffy et al., 2016: 15). For this reason, effective community participation is widely encouraged to assist in identifying conflicts between biodiversity use and conservation and lay a platform for successful ICDP outcomes (Ojha and Sarker, 2012: 238). In spite of being widely popular in the 1990s, ICDP merely became a tool for compensating communities for loss of access to resources but still failed in discouraging encroachment, poaching and conservation and development may build a sense of stewardship toward environmental problem-solving. Although a perfect balance may be impossible to reach, community conservation should be both socially and ecologically beneficial (Sirivongs and Tsuchiya, 2012: 94).
3.9 Alternative Conservation Strategies: Conservation Agriculture and Ecological Restoration
Alternatively, other unconventional methods such as conservation agriculture and ecological restoration are used. The following sub-sections outline what these two conservation methods entail. More commonly, especially in African countries, conservation agriculture seems to be more common than the latter.
3.9.1 Conservation Agriculture
Conservation farming or agriculture refers to a system or practice which promotes conservation of soil and water by using surface cover (mulch) to improve water absorption and minimise erosion (Corbeels et al., 2015: 444). Planting is done with minimum or no-tillage (Whitfield et al., 2015: 235). Conservation farming is being promoted extensively in southern Africa. Soil degradation, climate change and the ever-increasing rate of poverty have given conservation farming a platform as a strategy for poverty alleviation and soil and water conservation (Pittelkow et al., 2015: 367). In several African countries, conservation farming has been implemented with positive results, with yields improving within a period of five years (Cheesman et al., 2016: 108; Marongwe et al., 2011: 154). Maize yields were reported to have significantly increased due to improved soil fertility and no-tillage methods (Thierfelder et al., 2015: 232). The diverse nature of biophysical characteristics, rainfall and nutrient variability can be a hindrance to the success of conservation farming strategies (Thierfelder et al., 2013: 56).
Below are the main advantages and characteristics of conservation farming (Haggblade and Tembo, 2003: 6; Grabowski et al., 2014: 38):
• Dry-season land preparation using minimum tillage systems;
• Crop residue retention; and
• Seeding and input application in fixed planting stations.
While there are great benefits associated with conservation farming, there are on the other hand trade-offs of implementing this strategy (Naudin et al., 2015: 40). Mulching requires that crop residues are retained in the fields rather than used as fodder to feed livestock (Nkonya et al., 2011: 28). This then leads to a decline in livestock feed and therefore an increased demand for rangeland. When short-term benefits are not realised farmers are less inclined to adopt conservation farming (Beuchelt et al., 2015: 63). Table 3.5 presents short and long-term benefits and impacts of conservation farming.
Table 3.4: Short and long-term benefits and impacts of conservation agriculture (Giller et al., 2009: 26)
Response Short-term Long-term
Positive Increased soil water availability (reduced soil evaporation: reduced water run-off, increased water infiltration Reduced soil erosion
Reduced soil temperature oscillation Increased soil organic matter
Increased soil aggregation
Negative Soil nutrient immobilisation Soil compaction (coarse-textured soils)
Poor germination Soil acidity
Increased weed competition
Occurrence of residue-borne diseases
Stimulation of crop pests
Waterlogging (poorly drained soils) Aluminium toxicity
Reduced mixing of organic matter into the soil
3.9.2 Ecological Restoration
To a lesser extent, the strategy of ecological restoration is being adopted in developing countries. The strategy of ecological restoration is best defined as “the process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged or destroyed” (Society of Ecological Restoration – SER, 2004: 3 cited in Farag et al., 2015: 248). The objective of ecological restoration is to recover and improve ecosystems functionality within national parks and agricultural fields (Peters et al., 2015: 180). Through ecological restoration, biodiversity and ecosystems are improved. Ecological restoration can be used for PAs and areas within communities’ living environments (Bullock et al., 2011: 545).
A holistic ecological restoration approach has to have economic, social and cultural benefits to society (Martin et al., 2016: 149). This link between ecological restoration and socio-economic development is all the more significant in rural areas (Deng et al., 2016: 383). The strategy of ecological restoration is, however, controversial for adaptation in developing countries. It is by nature expensive and any investment to conserve nature in this manner takes the time to show results (Ceccon et al., 2015: 332). The most common technique for restoration is seeding and planting of seedlings to recover vegetation (Tian et al., 2015: 276). A global study conducted on ecological restoration discovered that very few restoration projects succeeded in Africa and South America and Asia as compared to higher results in most of the developed world (Waller et al., 2015: 65).
3.10 Government Priorities in Africa
Following the development of MDGs, governments seldom treat biodiversity conservation as a priority; poverty reduction, on the other hand, has captured the attention of both national governments and donor agencies including the World Bank (Danquah et al., 2018: O140). The assertion that funding conservation is not a priority for African governments has been proven in several circumstances (Chaminuka and Belete, 2015: 680; Bredin et al., 2015: 819).
There is an apparent conflict between conservation and development for governments in Africa. In southern Africa, NRM is in the hands of governments (Berttram, 2011: 3). There are various degrees of cooperation with local communities or traditional decision-making bodies and this may prove vital to yielding positive outcomes of CBNRM, and therefore it is crucial to understand the perceptions of local people concerning government conservation institutions, district councils and private investors to pre-empt possible influences they might have towards conservation (Mfunda et al., 2012: 536).
Governments, private companies and NGOs continue to subtract from the benefits that communities accrue from community-conservation ventures (Méndez-López et al., 2015: 699). This, in turn, aggravates communities to encroach and illegally harvest resources within PAs, such as is the case with CAMPFIRE in Zimbabwe (Muboko et al., 2016: 170). This shortfall in the model is brought about by mismatched land uses. Most CBNRM are failing to empower the communities they were meant for and instead of fully passing authority, entitlement and responsibility to the intended communities; CBNRM continues to place communities and their livelihoods at a disadvantage and opt to choose private companies, hunting and eco-tourism as the primary modes of control (Matema and Andersson, 2015: 95). Separating authority and responsibility hinders institutions from performing to their full capacity (Spiegel, 2015: 555).
Low distribution of benefits will not win the cooperation from local communities who will continue to poach and ‘illegally’ harvest from conservation areas to sustain their livelihoods (Di Minin et al., 2016: 100). Communities will remain sceptical due to a lack of sense of ownership toward CBNRM unless rights to such initiatives are transferred into their upkeep (Chaminuka and Belete, 2015: 678; Bredin et al., 2015: 818). Government departments and sectors have to correspond and coordinate their efforts in relation to integrated biodiversity conservation, environmental management and development. Efforts have to be coordinated both in policy development and implementation (Hettiarachchi, 2011: 15).
The idea of ‘permitting’ local populations to participate in the sustainable use of resources has taken precedence in the journey for biodiversity conservation and development (Russell-Smith et al., 2015: 444). This and other actions continue to deprive and change the rural population’s socio-economic circumstances for the worse.
Limited success has been documented where CBC initiatives have been implemented. In many instances, conservation and development strategies in developing countries fail to truly place people at the centre of initiatives. The literature reviewed indicates that the MDGs, SDGs and MEAs are particularly significant in assisting countries to map out conservation and development initiatives. These appear to actively influence policy and conservation objectives.
Although good on paper, most conservation strategies lack efficient monitoring and evaluation for consistent adaptation of new information, technology and financing. The literature has presented evidence that efficient planning and implementation can directly affect drivers of ecosystem changes and effectively lessen the negative impacts that these have on the outcome of strategies. A sense of ownership, as well as positive changes in human well-being and livelihoods, shape perceptions of communities towards policy and conservation strategies. Furthermore, socio-economic dynamics, local knowledge and gender should be incorporated to take strategies a step closer to success. In order to instil a perception of inclusiveness, there has to be coherence between global, national and local political goals. Ideally, deliberate top-down approaches should be avoided. Reducing national poverty is the main objective of conservation strategies, therefore, the well-being of communities living adjacent or within conservation areas is imperative.
Policy-makers require access to updated and timely environmental information to be able to shape behavioural and institutional responses through a selection of fitting policy instruments. Successful implementation, therefore, is also dependent on the veracity of experiences of stakeholders and communities in relation to biodiversity use. Yet, communities at grassroots level tend to be marginalised when it comes to decisions on issues of biodiversity conservation in their own contexts. Failure to identify and measure trade-offs has posed major problems in attempts to create synergies between rural livelihoods and conservation areas. The introduction of an enabling environment such as involvement in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of conservation strategies for communities means they maintain ownership and benefits of conservation. Efficient conservation includes not only the maintenance of the aesthetic and cultural value of biodiversity but also functions and services such as provisioning and regulating in order to support life on earth. In this way, low poverty levels are maintained and communities become resilient and adaptive and less vulnerable to hazards. An integrated approach informed by both science and IKS is crucial in controlling conflicts for biodiversity, negotiating trade-offs and improving equity to access and consumption of resources. Government priorities play even a more important role in creating a favourable environment for inclusive and integrated conservation strategies.
Chapter Four: Biodiversity Conservation in Lesotho
This chapter discusses issues of biodiversity and its conservation in Lesotho. Poor conservation initiatives have consistently failed to protect biodiversity and other natural resources in Lesotho (Lambert et al., 2016: 121). Neither have any of the past strategies been heralded as examples to secure better livelihoods for Lesotho’s rural communities. Among other factors, erratic rainfall has shifted farmers’ investment in agriculture resulting in lowered yields (Mokuku, 2016: 12). These aspects have greatly increased Lesotho’s rural populations’ vulnerability to hazards and shocks such as drought or price increases in staples (Saarinen, 2016: 927).
Conservation strategies were introduced and implemented from as early as the 1950s and continued post-independence (1966) (Esenjor, 2005: 138). With the common objective of securing livelihoods, projects were implemented with varying degrees of success. These strategies act as a reference for lessons learned for current and future biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation. Lesotho adopts and encompasses global and regional strategies and policies to improve the livelihoods of its people. Similar to most African countries, Lesotho has adopted strategies and policies such as those advised by the MDGs as a response to food insecurity and other socio-economic inequalities (Kindra and Wasswa-Mugambwa, 2015: 21). Tourism and eco-tourism have also subsequently become part of Lesotho’s strategy for employment, biodiversity conservation and maintenance of multilateral relations (Lekaota, 2015: 456). This chapter presents an overview of these factors and the linkages they have with poverty and degraded biodiversity in Lesotho.
4.2 Threats to Biodiversity in Lesotho
In an attempt to manage biodiversity, the government introduced constraints to access and usage of resources which communities interpreted as an infringement of their rights and not as a way of conserving already limited resources (Sekamane, 2015: 66). Conflicts over access to resources between communities and authorities gradually escalated into conflicts among neighbouring communities (Daemane, 2012: 101). These conflicts were primarily a result of a lack of clearly demarcated boundary lines between communities, eventually blurring the distinction between communities (Mugomeri et al., 2016: 150). Similar to international settings, biodiversity conflict in Lesotho are typically associated with access issues regarding land use such as grazing (rangeland), cultivation (agricultural fields), wood collection (forests) and settlement area (residential purposes) (Junker et al., 2015: 697; Silici, 2016: 10)
Loss of biodiversity in Lesotho can be attributed to erratic rainfall, habitat destruction, poor implementation of regulatory systems, and a decrease in power of traditional authorities (Mugomeri et al., 2016: 148). Specific actions that lead to biodiversity loss in Lesotho can be classified into the following common categories (Tongwane and Moeletsi, 2015: 579):
• Rangeland degradation through overgrazing
• Cultivation of unsuitable soils, leading to severe erosion
• Severe deforestation throughout most of Lesotho, resulting in erosion
Specifically, in the highlands of Lesotho, overgrazing contributes further by leaving the land bare and available for aggressive invasive species (Wikle, 2015: 85). Natural and human-induced fires further contribute to the accelerated loss of biodiversity especially in the Maluti-Drakensberg mountain area (Grundling et al., 2015: 5). Furthermore, change of land use, especially to unplanned settlement expansion, is seen as a major factor in the reduction of species population and diversity (Oduor et al., 2016: 93). Siltation which has also been blamed for the most loss of biodiversity in Lesotho, has led to a high number of dried up streams, increased aridity and disappearance of marshlands and sponges (Drimie et al., 2011: 170). Soil erosion is accelerated while soils lose their fertility leading to reduced vegetation cover (Cowie et al., 2011: 249). Evidence has established that there is a direct link between land degradation, biodiversity loss and climate change, both as cause and effect in Lesotho (Lal et al., 2011: 281).
4.2.1 Status and Trends in Biodiversity
Past studies have shown that the Lesotho Drakensberg-Maluti region has at least 3 094 documented plant species, of which 30% is endemic to the mountains (Lesotho, 2001: 4). There at least 132 species of Thallophytes (algae and fungi) (Lesotho, 2009:). According to Figure 4.1, Lesotho has a limited number of indigenous faunal species, of which 63 are mammals, 318 are bird species, 40 are reptile species, 19 are amphibian species and 14 are fish species (Lesotho, 2009: 27). Historical records (in the past fifty years) show that approximately 19 species have been locally extinct in Lesotho and two more have been recorded globally extinct (Lesotho, 2009: 17). Similarly, 22 bird species and three reptile species are only available in historical records (Lesotho, 2009: 17).
Figure 4.1: Lesotho indigenous fauna, historical and species in 2009 (Lesotho, 2009: 27)
Historical evidence suggests that Lesotho does not have natural tree growth, which traditionally occurred along water courses, valleys and mountain passes (Maro, 2011: 56). Population expansion led to an increased demand for natural resources and trees were cleared for thatching and fuelwood (Bodart et al., 2013: 2). Currently, several animal and plant species in Lesotho have limited distribution ranges. Many are used as traditional medicine in several communities (Kose et al., 2015: 186). Access to land in Lesotho is communal and, as result, natural resources and especially biodiversity are under constant threat (Palframan, 2015: 1539). The degradation of biodiversity in the highlands of Lesotho has had a negative impact on both agriculture and fuelwood sustenance (Kirkland et al., 2011: 3).
4.3 Lesotho State of the Environment
Lesotho and Ethiopia fall within a list of countries in Africa which are characterised by deeply dissected hilly and mountainous slopes (Billi et al., 2015: 102; Wikle, 2015: 88). These two countries owe this feature to the dissected uplifted plateau (Lavé, 2015: 443). Land for settlement, agriculture, forests and grazing are limited is such areas. Land uses in Lesotho can be classified according to Figure 4.2. These can be summarised into grasslands, scrublands, bogs, cultivated and residential areas. Land maps in Lesotho are currently being updated, thus with data still being collected, the information in Figure 4.2 is yet to be updated (Fogelman and Bassett, 2017: 255).
Figure 4.2: Lesotho land cover (Majara, 2005: 70)
Owing to divergent climatic and economic conditions, land uses in Lesotho have changed over the years (Palframan, 2015: 1535). Changes are usually mapped over certain time periods (Wikle, 2015: 83). Degraded grasslands and wetlands have decreased while built-up areas have increased significantly (Mokuku and Taylor, 2015: 200). Lesotho’s grasslands have always been viewed by development planners as exploitable and these would be used to optimise commercial activity through the country’s vast numbers of livestock (Pululu et al., 2015: 2). However, there is always reluctance among Basotho farmers to convert their goats, sheep and cattle into cash (Khoabane and Black, 2012: 143). Agro-ecological conditions have varied over the years. Historical circumstances and agro-ecological conditions have largely determined land use patterns in Lesotho.
Village land use planning in Lesotho was constructed around the idea of using locally accepted and known land division and soil names (Mokhameleli and Kroukamp, 2015: 301). The main aim has been to strike a balance between what could be achieved locally and do away with land use programmes that impact negatively on the poor regardless of their commitment to NRM (Rantšo, 2015: 2652). Historically, villages were strategically located on mountain slopes leaving the plains for cultivation (Mekbib et al., 2015: 3854). Lesotho has in recent years been faced with the encroachment of residential into agricultural areas and thus forcing agricultural land onto mountainous slopes which are neither cultivable nor productive (Thebe and Rakotje, 2013: 413). Extreme land degradation followed causing extensive loss of arable land (13% to 9%) and together with it, the rich biodiversity of the country (Lambert et al., 2016: 120). Over half of the land in Lesotho is used for grazing (Ryan, 2015: 246). Even though it is less prone to unstable climatic conditions, the livestock sub-sector in Lesotho has been unable to contribute to the economy in any way (Mokhethi, 2015: 63). Thus Lesotho continues to battle with securing sustainable livelihoods for rural populations with little or no income and an overview is provided in the section that follows.
4.4 Food Security in Lesotho
A considerable decline in stock assets due to theft, retrenchment of several Basotho men from South African mines, the high incidence of HIV/AIDS in the country, increasing prices of commodities and other socio-economic factors alter livelihoods and food security trends for rural dwellers in Lesotho (Mokhameleli and Kroukamp, 2015: 300). Due to land degradation and limited arable land, the poverty status has increased considerably in the highlands and Senqu valley regions of the country (Mufune, 2015: 15). Poverty in these regions has been classified as almost three times higher than that of Maseru, the capital of Lesotho (Molatoli and Xiaoyun, 2016: 1416). Worse-off in these poor communities are the child and female-headed households (Ansell, 2016: 168). Although immensely affected by HIV/AIDS, Lesotho has not been a recipient of donor support that it used to boast in the past (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS – UNAIDS, 2012: 38). The HIV/AIDS pandemic has increased the injustices of land tenure for female and child-headed households (Wikle, 2015: 88). In many instances, the death of male heads leaves their families vulnerable to dispossession of unused or underutilised land to relatives or next-of-kin to the disbenefit of the entitled landowners (Preece and Croome, 2016: 237). With only 9% of land in Lesotho classified as arable in 1987, and 25% of the rural population landless, these numbers are feared to have negatively changed (Moeletsi and Walker, 2013: 228). Lately, political instability and unrest have isolated Lesotho from the international community, thus demanding that the country enhances the security of the livelihoods of its people (Weisfelder, 2015: 60; Wise and Darmstadt, 2015: 390). This argument is further strengthened in Figure 4.3.
Figure 4.3: Complex relationships between socio-economic factors and environmental constraints affect living standards in Lesotho (Silici et al., 2010: 3)
According to Figure 4.3, a cyclic relationship is seen to occur with the initial point being Lesotho’s erratic weather made worse by the effects of climate change. Other pressures such as anthropogenic actions of bad grazing practices and deforestation render ecosystems fragile and exacerbate soil erosion and land degradation. Agricultural production is further reduced thus exacerbating the issues of poverty and reduced food security. The effects of unemployment and HIV/AIDS deplete communities to a point where coping mechanisms become non-effective. This also stems in part from the decline in agricultural production, hunger and unemployment.
A considerable number of families in Lesotho have virtually no financial income, suggesting that most would have to survive on subsistence agricultural production and other available sources of food (Lambert et al., 2016: 121). Conservation agriculture is being used as an adaptation measure to increase yields in Lesotho (Olaleye et al., 2016: 3). In order to enhance the results of conservation agriculture in Lesotho, institutional support and extension of policy are essential for the general adaptation of conservation agriculture by farmers (Silici et al., 2011: 8).
A typical Basotho rural household has food stores from sharecropping or individual field production (George, 2015: 8). These usually last for several months of the year and these food supplies are supplemented from time to time with other sources from food purchases, small vegetable gardens or with wild edible plants (Molatoli and Xiaoyun, 2016: 1416). Other families own livestock and agricultural fields and these ensure better livelihoods than those who have neither (Belle and Hlalele, 2015: 2). Paid employment of a family member slightly increases chances of families living above the poverty line (Chin, 2016: 772). While the elderly receive social grants, poverty in Lesotho is still extant among the age group of 70 years and above (Dhemba, 2012: 10).
Lesotho has developed socio-economic, demographic and health policies in direct response to poverty alleviation and stabilisation of macro-economic policy (Lesotho, 2001: 28). The Married Persons Equality Act, 2008, was put in place to include marginalised parties such as women and children to be equally entitled to immovable property such as land (Lesotho, 2008). A new Land Act (Lesotho, 2010) was enacted to replace the old Land Act (Lesotho, 1979) which did not allow women to own land. According to the new law, women in Lesotho are entitled to equal participation in decision-making processes of land and environmental management (Mapetla, 2015: 25; Thabane, 2016: 2). The nature and implementation of these policies are, however, questionable as women and orphans in southern Africa are still discriminated against when it comes to land tenure issues (Hunleth et al., 2015: 509). The history of inequality in land tenure and land ownership issues in Lesotho has had a profound impact on the decisions made about biodiversity conservation in Lesotho (Motsoari et al., 2015: 599). The reality, however, is that as little as 30.8% of women own land in Lesotho while 69.2% of men own land (Njoh and Ananga, 2016: 93). The long-standing patriarchal divisions of land ownership continue to withhold women from actively seeking to own land (Wikle, 2015: 83).
4.5 Commercialisation of Biodiversity in Lesotho
There are numerous plants in Lesotho used for medicinal and other purposes (Moteetee and Van Wyk, 2011: 211). In recent years, there has been an increased commercialisation of plants in Lesotho sold in South Africa and as far as the United States of America which has led to their rapid loss (Mugomeri et al., 2016: 143; Newton et al., 2008: 8). Medicinal plants and animals in Lesotho are used to treat a range of ailments including skin conditions, stomach illnesses, organ failure and flu and colds (Ryan, 2015: 244). NRM in Lesotho has, for the most part, encompassed range management. Traditional livestock practices have hindered the growth of livestock production into economic growth and development (Rantšo, 2015: 2659). High stocking numbers, communal grazing systems and the weakened traditional authorities have led to overgrazing and eventual environmental destruction (Lambert et al., 2016: 123). Attempts have been made and continue to be made to manage rangelands through regulations and policies. Reseeding of rangelands continues to be practised in several areas and areas under rehabilitation are usually closed off to prevent overexploitation (Wikle, 2015: 86).
4.6 Conservation Initiatives
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and German Development Service (DED) just to mention a few organisations have overseen NRM and biodiversity conservation programmes in Lesotho (Mokhethi, 2015: 37; Rantšo, 2015: 2651). These projects have the following objectives in common
• Conserving the natural living conditions
• Conserving of key species
• Promoting of sustainable use of the natural resources
• Developing alternative income generating activities for the rural population
• Sustainable conservation agriculture
Other strategies include conservation of rangelands and further development of PAs, namely, the Maluti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Project (Bishop et al., 2015: 1780; Suarez, 2015: 452). What has been significant is the attempt by the government over the years to conserve biodiversity and secure food and subsistence for the nation (Bell, 2012: 25). Participation of local communities in all or some of these projects was weak which led to the failure of several of these projects (Lekaota, 2015: 459). There is a diversity of underlying common conflicts in biodiversity conservation which may be driven by common or varying factors in Lesotho. Several projects have been implemented from the 1950s with differing objectives but mostly similar outcomes and short lifespans. The common underlying features which lead to the failure of many of these projects included the following (Esenjor, 2004: 138):
• Unrealistic, ambitious goals which could never be met at the time;
• Total lack of community involvement;
• Lack of planning;
• Top-down forceful approaches;
• Inherited colonial projects already viewed by communities with suspicion and contempt;
• False promises on the sharing of profits and employment opportunities;
• Failure in maintaining interest from community members to sustain conservation projects; and
• Poor government support and lack of coordination between sectors.
These projects have provided a long list of lessons learned from which government, NGOs and the private sector draw from in order to ensure the success of conservation initiatives. Current analysis of conservation projects in Lesotho presents a bleak picture of initiatives that still fail to conduct responsible research through social and ecological analysis (Mokuku, 2016: 5). Projects still battle due to failure to take into consideration issues of participation, the definition of community, improvement in the quality of social research for conservation, visualisation of risk, and the context of conservation policy and investments (Lekaota, 2015: 459; Mothepu et al., 2015: 911).
4.6.1 PAs in Lesotho
Several PAs exist and these include the Sehlabathebe National Park, the Tšehlanyane National Park, the Bokong National Park and the Masitise National Park (Table 4.1). These are also a few wetlands of which Let?a-la-Letsie wetland in the Quthing district has international significance and the Khubelu wetland in Butha-Buthe.
Table 4.1: PAs of Lesotho (Mokuku et al., 2002: 83)
Name and IUCN category Area (ha)
Sehlabathebe National Park (II) 6475
Tšehlanyane National Park (II) 5300
Bokong National Park (III) 1972
Let?eng-la-Letsie Ramsar Site (IV) 434
Senqu sources (IV) Proposed
Several services are usually acquired from wetlands. Grazing and hunting are two of the major services acquired at Let?eng-la-Letsie wetland in Lesotho with an estimated quantified income of US$180 078 (Lannas and Turpie, 2009: 1). This estimated cost of services for hunting and grazing at Let?eng-la-Letsie implies that if the wetland was lost, then a great number of people would lose from the provisioning of services provided by the wetland. Table 4.2 presents a list of some major wetlands in Lesotho.
Table 4.2: Major wetlands in Lesotho (Mokuku et al, 2002: 172)
Khubelu 1664.7 km2
Kotisephola 1066 ha
Motete 1350 ha
Let?a-la-Letsie 41.4 km2
4.7 Politicising Conservation in Lesotho
The concepts of ‘local’ and ‘communities’ in development and conservation policies are embedded in multiple identities and mixed livelihoods (Igoe and Brockington, 2016: 326). They are infused within transboundary political views and interests, economic dependencies, cultural traditions, norms and ecological conditions (Ruiz-Mallén et al., 2015: 99; Wright et al., 2016: 9). The definitions of ‘local’ and ‘community’ when adopting international conservation strategies of CBC have to take into consideration the realities and discourses of what these two words mean for people in Lesotho (Mokuku, 2016: 10). The interests and land use of local populations and communities in Lesotho are usually regarded as conflicting with the aims and objectives of CBC strategies (Lamb et al., 2013: 12). Local populations are often included by offers of training and income possibilities through eco-tourism initiatives. Malealea lodge serves a good example where communities have benefited from training and employment (Tsephe, 2015: 74).
There have been structural changes within the country resulting in a 35% unemployment rate in 2009 (Lesotho Bureau of Statistics (BOS), 2009). There is generally a lack of investment in agricultural production in Lesotho. Consequently, due to the lack of income-generating activities as well as degradation of biodiversity and natural resources, the level of poverty in the country has steadily risen (Preece and Croome, 2016: 236). It is important that environmental and climate change in Lesotho are understood at all political levels, whether it be by the national government of community levels (Bell, 2012: 54). Potential conflicts arising from such issues could also affect the role of water in Lesotho as a transboundary resource and involve stakeholders at both high and low political levels avoids conflict (Swatuk, 2015: 271).
Lesotho is part of one of the biggest transfrontier conservation projects in the world. The Maluti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation Area between Lesotho and South Africa has established PAs along the borders of these two countries (Brand et al., 2015: 1). Transfrontier conservation increases stakeholders involved in the process (Moswete and Thapa, 2015: 251). It is by nature a neoliberal approach to conservation, claiming to be sensitive to the needs of the local people by providing monetary benefits while attempting to keep conservation legitimate (Igoe and Brockington, 2016: 436). Neoliberalism can be defined as “the first instance a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterised by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade” (Harvey, 2005: 2).
While there is no denying the massive environmental degradation that Lesotho suffers, the nation can socially and economically continue to invest in biodiversity conservation and NRM. It is essential that the nation is encouraged to socially invest in biodiversity conservation by continually broadening their political and institutional appreciation. Social capital is essential in order to use knowledge of local people to assist in shaping conservation strategies (Mugomeri et al., 2016: 159). Possible conservation strategies constructed around the facts that people rationally perceive about their biophysical environment are ideal (Hewson, 2015: 112). Sustained local people’s contribution towards species types, distribution and habits brand any conservation strategy as being socially, ecologically and politically essential (Gray et al., 2012: 89). Local knowledge in Lesotho contributes towards practical ecological benefits in the conservation of biodiversity including medicinal plants and farming (Mekbib et al., 2015: 1552). Furthermore, eco-tourism and conservation farming in Lesotho are particularly attentive to local knowledge especially in the initial phases of projects (Monaheng, 2016: 3).
4.8 Tourism in Lesotho
Tourism is one area in which biodiversity plays a major role. It has become the government’s mission to expand the tourism industry of the country. The Lesotho National Tourism Office (LNTO) was established in the 1980s. Today the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) continues to expand these efforts into ventures of eco-tourism throughout the country. The numbers of tourists visiting Lesotho have been fluctuating through the years (Rogerson and Letsie, 2013: 486). This has fuelled the need for government to tighten its effort in conserving biodiversity in the country in order to conserve the country’s scenic beauty.
Eco-tourism in Lesotho is meant to assist with the rehabilitation of damaged landscapes, conservation of general species and preservation of heritage (Büscher and Dressler, 2012: 370). In some areas, however, there is a total lack of coordination in activities between alpine lodges and the communities adjacent to them (Wikle, 2015: 86). There is a normal practice of calling these lodges eco-destinations even though the practices may be totally ecological unfriendly (Lekaota, 2015: 458). There has been a continuing debate about whether eco-tourism projects benefit either communities or biodiversity in Lesotho (Büscher, 2012: 270).
There is a general lack of tools to measure the effectiveness of eco-tourism ventures and it is recommended that further studies be conducted in order to measure through community perceptions and other ecological factors the effectiveness of such undertakings (Manwa, 2012: 6674). Tourism levels in Lesotho have fluctuated through the years. Figure 4.4 shows trends in the arrival of tourists in Lesotho between 2007 and 2011. The graph shows a sharp increase in tourist arrivals between 2008 and 2010. After 2010 the number of tourists dropped from 430 000 to approximately 400 000 in 2011. The presumption here would be that some of the visitors of the 2010 world cup in neighbouring South Africa might have also visited Lesotho.
Figure 4.4: Trends in the arrival of tourist in Lesotho, 2007-2011 (LTDC, 2012: 6)
Figure 4.5 illustrates the differences in the years and months in the arrival of tourists in Lesotho showing the years between 2009 and 2011. There has been a steady rise in the influx of tourists in Lesotho between 2007 and 2010. Forty three thousand tourists are reported to have visited Lesotho in 2010 and the number declined to just over 39 000 in 2011. The lowest number of visitors is seen in May during winter and seems to steadily pick up from July when winter ends. These trends are similar for all three years between 2009 and 2011.
Figure 4.5: Distribution of tourist arrivals in Lesotho, 2009-2011 (LTDC, 2012: 6)
The employment of approximately 53 000 people in the tourism and travel industry has been an improvement in the growth of the industry in Lesotho (The Authority on World Travel and Tourism, 2015: 4). This number includes people who are also indirectly benefiting from the industry. The LTDC hosts tourism day every September with the main focus on tourism and community development (LTDC, 2015: 4). Jobs such as tourist guides, receptionists, cooking and cleaning are mostly occupied by local members in lodges across the country (Mearns, 2011: 143). The development of tourism-based conservation initiatives strives to help build alternatives to subsistence living in developing countries (Manwa et al., 2015: 286). Africa has great potential to grow further its tourism industry (Sánchez Cañizares, 2015: 2). The number of domestic tourists has increased steadily in the recent years. This has been attributed to the marketing of such areas as the national parks and the development of dams in the country (Khoalenyane and Ezeuduji., 2016:450). A study released in 2014 revealed that on average local tourists take approximately 2.6 trips per year (Pragmatics, 2014: 2).
Specifically for Lesotho, the government has had to form partnerships with private companies from within and outside the country, development agents and communities (Jenkins, 2015: 159). There are, however, constant challenges from commercial interests turning biodiversity-rich areas into cropping and plantation areas (Lesotho Review, 2011: 4). Inadequate understanding of communities and business sectors in using these designated areas for eco-tourism is also prevalent (Wikle, 2015: 80).
4.9 Poverty Alleviation and Biodiversity Conservation in Lesotho
Environmental problems in Lesotho have historically been viewed in the international debates about environment and development. Lesotho’s stagnant economy cannot support its population, and a population with no employment relies heavily on the natural resources. Lesotho is making efforts to increase PA coverage through on-going conservation programmes (Saner et al., 2015: 235). These include efforts to improve agriculture in order to secure food productivity (Molatoli and Xiaoyun, 2016: 1418). These efforts are made by involving communities in decision-making in order to enhance their capacity and strengthen their efforts. Environmental management in Lesotho is closely related to poverty reduction (Mokhameleli and Kroukamp, 2015: 309).
Further efforts include youth training in issues of rural environmental rehabilitation (Meissner, 2016: 265). The formation of interest groups such as traditional healers, initiators, herders and artisan associations assists in consolidating efforts and widely spreading efforts for biodiversity conservation and food security (Meissner, 2016: 265). Some of these interest groups have been institutionalised, for example, there is an association of registered traditional healers, with the understanding that they harvest fauna and flora regularly for healing purposes and they have an invested interest in maintaining healthy numbers, diversity and distribution of species (Kose et al., 2015: 189). Figure 4.6 presents the number of registered traditional healers in the country between 2005 and 2009. There is a significant number of healers registered in all districts of Lesotho with the exception for the southern district of Mohale’s hoek. A common trend, however, is that the total number of registered healers has steadily increased in all the years between 2005 and 2009. With the objective of sensitising this group of stakeholders, it comes through as a positive sign that many are continuing to register year after year in order to control the harvest of the fauna and flora.
Figure 4.6: Number of registered traditional healers in Lesotho by district (UNEP, 2010: 13)
The increasing number of registered traditional healers is an indication of the belief that collective effort in the proper use of resources is more sustainable. The government of Lesotho has lobbied the formation of these interest groups to assist and police resource use in some of the most remote areas in the country. Historically, the colonial government dedicated most of their time and resources to conservation (Nyirenda, 2015: 284). Enlisting participation of local populations was principal for the authorities but this proved to be a problem from the onset (Lambert et al., 2016: 122). Food aid, labour and cash payments were enlisted to improve participation. When these diminished at the end of the colonial era so did motivation for local communities to maintain conservation initiatives, especially farmers (Marake and Molumeli, 2016: 82).
Prior to Lesotho’s independence in 1966, the government together with colonial authorities took the responsibility of educating the nation about conservation and its benefits (Showers, 2006: 2). The idea was to combine social and technological policy issues to improve participation and foster understanding, but without much success (Showers, 2008: 1). After Lesotho gained its independence in 1966, further efforts were made to involve communities in conservation but political instability rocked the country and those efforts were halted (Aerni-Flessner, 2014: 416). Since biodiversity, soil and water conservation have become some of the well-known initiatives in the country, some of these initiatives are discussed in this thesis. Laws, regulations, rules and policies govern biodiversity conservation in Lesotho. These institutional arrangements are discussed in the next section.
4.9.1 Institutional Arrangements for NRM
Lesotho has gone through a major overhaul in various sectors including the water sector and NRM. Biodiversity conservation is endorsed through a number of policies and legal framework. In order for these to be effective, Lesotho needs a unified legal and policy framework that focuses on multi-sectoral biodiversity conservation strategies. As it stands, Lesotho is operating on very old legislation and, according to Orlando (2013: 21), cohesion between sectors cannot be achieved when legislation does not support trending environmental policy. Lesotho, therefore, has formulated several interrelated policies for the protection of biodiversity and community development (Lötter, 2015: 33). These policies and laws provide strategies to battle the adverse impacts of large numbers of livestock, the collection of firewood, and the expansion of agriculture and human settlements (Johannes and Xiaoyun, 2016: 1413). Conservation is enforced through documents such as the National Environmental Policy (NEP), 1998 and the Range Management and Grazing Regulations, 1980. These are all meant to craft coordination between policy, institutional structures and management sectors. These documents have been studied further as part of the current research and discussions are offered in Chapter Six.
The Lesotho NEP has several objectives, but in relation to the purpose of this study the following are highlighted (Lesotho, 1998: 4):
• To encourage and facilitate individual, NGO, community, religious organisations and business community participation in environmental management.
• To foster community management and revenue sharing from the sustainable utilisation of natural resources on customary and public land.
• To enact and implement a land tenure policy which enhances sustainable NRM.
• To empower women to play a key role in natural resource use and management activities.
By its nature, the formulation of the NEP is directly in line with the national development priorities; it focuses on the social and economic dimensions of the use, management and conservation of natural resources, and in particular the promotion of community participation.
Attempts to increase PAs in Lesotho have at times met with resistance from the concerned communities (Lekaota, 2015: 460). To this day, the Sehlabathebe National Park (gazetted in 1970) is still used as a grazing area for the community and land disputes regarding grazing access are still continuing (Wikle, 2015: 83). Biodiversity conservation and protection are threatened further by fragmented management issues, range fires, exploitation of resources, overgrazing and these are at times exacerbated by prolonged or successive drought (Chibememe et al., 2014: 193; Mugomeri et al., 2016: 153; Palframan, 2015: 1544).
Lesotho as a developing country is working hard to embrace new strategies for conservation. In 1994, Lesotho developed a National Action Plan which includes several strategies including one for the conservation of biodiversity. The objective of this strategy was to prepare and implement a National Biodiversity Management Programme in answer to the International Convention on Biological Diversity. For this strategy an action plan including the following was formulated in 2000 (Lesotho, 2009: 49):
• Ratify the Biodiversity Convention;
• Prepare a National Biodiversity Management Plan to conserve resources, protect fragile ecosystems and endangered species;
• Cooperate with neighbouring SADC countries in the implementation of the Convention;
• Promote studies, surveys and data collection, and evaluation and maintenance of genetic resources; and
• Strengthen data and information exchange relevant to biodiversity conservation.
Environmental degradation invariably leads to conflicts over natural resources (Pahl-Wostl. and Knüppe, 2016: 230). All government institutions in Lesotho play at least a minor role in the environment, and four ministries are directly involved but mainly the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture is commissioned with the main goal of promoting and ensuring that the present and future development of Lesotho is environmentally sustainable (Sullivan, 2014: 194). Additionally, the Ministry coordinates and advises environmental management regulations establishment of conservation initiatives across the country (Matšela et al., 2015: 283).
It is important to realise that each community faces different socio-economic circumstances, therefore policy formulation and development should be able to reflect these various socio-economic issues (Tevera., 2015: 310). For any policy to be successful there has to be a political determination from all stakeholders: communities, decision-makers and implementing agencies to implement and maintain the objectives of that policy (Newman, 2014: 202). The political ecology of biodiversity conservation supports the adjustment of social and economic relations into economic entities, preserving biodiversity and its services for current and future generations (Klein et al., 2015: 300). In order to fully appreciate NRM and biodiversity conservation in Lesotho, it is essential to outline the contents of policy, regulations and Acts responsible for these processes.
4.9.2 Documentary Evidence: Policy and Institutional Review
Livelihood strategies in Lesotho have evolved through the years, from traditional farming and mining wages to more diverse strategies including women earning wages to supplement their livelihoods. Lesotho’s policy has historically been inherently economic, environmental and agricultural in nature (Turner, 2009: 4) and government and donor-funded development programmes and projects are currently directed towards revising and reinforcing these, as outlined in the Vision 2020 (Lesotho, 2003) and the Poverty Reduction Strategy (Lesotho, 2005). Biodiversity protection in Lesotho has been directly linked to food security and water protection. Loss of biodiversity, especially vegetation leads to dried up streams and wetlands diminishing the option of irrigation fed agricultural production (Mokotjo and Kalusopa, 2010: 350). A previous study undertaken to analyse stakeholders in the Mokhotlong District indicated that farmers and livestock owners perceived agricultural production; livestock numbers and quality to have significantly decreased (Lesotho, undated: 24). This circumstance has directly been associated with loss of biodiversity through climatic and anthropogenic factors. Engendered pro-poor government food security policies are being implemented to increase households’ food security, and are largely introduced to communities through humanitarian programmes. Unfortunately, these programmes rarely reach every citizen in order for them to understand what they entail (Lesotho, 2013: 1). Information dissemination about environmental policy is at the top of the list of the government in order to work towards more secure livelihood strategies (Mokotjo and Kalusopa, 2010: 351).
Policy in Lesotho is developed at the level of national government and with the help of suitable government departments, pertinent issues are then discussed for inclusion or exclusion in policy (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development – UNCTAD, 2013: 10). Politics, international donors and existing problems of biodiversity conservation and food security usually guide policy processes and eventually determine the level at which policy will be implemented. The government of the time, through its various Ministers, determine which direction policy takes and the availability of funds from donors is usually the determining factor in policy development and implementation (Patterson, 2008: 14). One of the major issues which were addressed in Lesotho during the period between 2008 and 2013 was the need to conserve water and rangeland, and this was done through the establishment of the wetland rehabilitation and protection programme which saw the inclusion of the Kotisephola Wetland Area which is part of the current study (Daemane, 2012: 172, Lesotho, 2011: 72). Community participation and inequality issues have been widely targeted in the project. The findings of the policy document review presented below show the nature of the overall environmental policy in Lesotho.
18.104.22.168 Lesotho National Environmental Policy, 1998
The Lesotho National Environmental Policy of 1998 was developed as a response to meet Agenda 21 objectives and in which Lesotho as a country had several environmental challenges to overcome. The current policy was developed as one of the documents of the National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) to overcome environmental challenges, among others, soil erosion, leading to loss of agricultural and grazing land; and periodic prolonged drought and water scarcity for agriculture, human and livestock consumption (Brinkerhoff and Gage, 2016: 157). One of the challenges was the low environmental awareness among policy and decision-makers and the public while at the same time trying to increase institutional capacity to deal with environmental problems (Kholo et al., 2014: 368). It was envisaged that this policy would create an environment which would enable coordinated responses to all the aforementioned issues as they do not occur in isolation (Lotter, 2016: 88). It is, therefore, an overarching policy for environmental and food security challenges. The environmental legislature and policy in Lesotho are designed from the following mandate of Section 36 of Lesotho’s Constitution which states (Lesotho, 1993: 26), “Lesotho shall adopt policies designed to protect and enhance the natural and cultural environment of Lesotho for the benefit of both present and future generations”.
This policy was developed with the main goal of achieving sustainable livelihood and overall development of the country of Lesotho. The changing nature of environmental problems implies that over time the policy would change and adapt to the ever-changing nature of environmental problems and the policy would be revised periodically (Mounir, 2015: 93). The policy has not been revised to date. The policy also strives to improve the involvement of stakeholders by enhancing gender issues, engaging NGOs and the business sector, development of science and technology, encouraging public participation in decision-making and programme implementation processes while also promoting environmental education and public awareness of environmental and developmental issues (Anderson, 2015: 96). The Act also guarded against negative consequences which may have been brought about by tourism development in the country (UN, 2013: 54).
Several principles are outlined in the policy and respond to different aspects of the policy and assist in its implementation. A selection of these principles is itemised below. According to the document, one of the guiding social and economic principles of the policy is the link between poverty as both a cause and consequence of environmental degradation (Lesotho National Environmental Policy, 1998: 8). Environmental conservation and protection, as well as the enhanced and sustainable use of resources, are, therefore, at the core of poverty reduction in Lesotho (Matarira et al., 2014: 282). In order to achieve these, institutional and legal arrangements, international obligations and monitoring and evaluation of the policy and its strategies are major tools in maintaining the effectiveness of the policy (Mokhameleli and Kroukamp, 2015: 301). These strategies include the revision of the Land Act, 1979 (now Land Act, 2009), rehabilitation of degraded resources and the promotion of research and development of drought-resistant crops all geared towards improving food security (Mokuku, 2016: 11). Managing demographic dynamics for sustainability as one of the principles of the policy strives to incorporate environmental considerations when designing and implementing environmental strategies (Fogelman, 2016: 36).
Protecting and promoting human health and the workplace environment is also covered in the environmental policy in Lesotho. This principle is guided by the need for Lesotho to improve the health of its citizens and promoting equity of clean environment to minimise communicable diseases (Sia et al., 2014: 943). This is also supported by the promotion of sustainable development of human settlements. This principle promotes a participative approach to environmental concerns and designing human settlements in both rural and urban areas (Chirisa and Matamanda, 2016: 84).
The integration of environment and development is another principle of the policy which is designed to ensure that sectoral policies, projects and programmes are incorporated into environmental considerations in planning, implementation and management in order to minimise and control impacts of every development on the environment. Additionally, there is the principle of an integrated approach to planning and management of land (Lesotho National Environmental Policy, 1998: 4). The undertaking of tenure reform is pivotal in promoting sustainable use of resources while ensuring equitable proper land use, rational land ownership and tenure (Bizikova et al., 2015: 840). Closely linked to good land use, the knowledge of the land and soil types for the development of appropriate crop choices are important for agricultural production and food security (O’Dell et al., 2014: 94). The objectives of this principle recognise the link between food security and a good natural resources base combined with agricultural practices.
The principle of sustainable rangeland and mountain development also forms part of the environmental policy. According to the policy, careful management is required for the mountain ecosystems which are classified as fragile and unstable. Stakeholder participation is crucial in an attempt to maintain rangelands and ensure equitable and sustainable use in semi-arid regions such as Lesotho (Oomen et al., 2016: 60). Consideration is correctly given to the identification of rangelands which are vulnerable due to erosion, floods, landslides, snow avalanches and other hazards (Kong et al., 2015: 78). The policy calls for early warning and mitigation systems to be put in place. Some of the major wetlands in Lesotho have been identified for rehabilitation (Lambert et al., 2016: 122). The environmental state of these wetlands has been classified as critical and the Lesotho government is in the process of rehabilitating them to healthier states (Rantšo, 2015: 2650). Although the policy has been in place for a while, the guiding principles to guide the conversation, use and protection of rangelands appears to have been generally delayed (Marake and Molumeli, 2016: 82).
Tourism has been directly linked to the quality of the environment and tourism has since been promoted to ensure equity sharing with concerned communities of tourism generated revenue (Monaheng, 2016: 40). These and other several principles were developed to improve that functionality of the environment policy with the continued endeavour towards gender equity and the improvement and exchange of knowledge among stakeholders. In summary, this policy “focuses on the social and economic dimensions, the management and conservation of natural resources and the promotion of community participation” (Talime, 2011: 22). In terms of tourism, however, foreign investors perceive Lesotho’s environmental policy to be strict and are therefore reluctant to invest in tourism ventures in Lesotho (van der Lugt, 2011: 2).
22.214.171.124 Environment Act 10, 2008
The Environmental Act has been developed to ensure that the government, communities and other stakeholders maintain sustainable development and sustainable use of various natural resources in order to provide for current needs of the population and maintaining a healthy environment. It provides for any person, organisation or company who goes against these principles to be accountable for their actions (Khaola et al., 2014: 365; Mitchell et al., 2016: 1915; Mugomeri et al., 2016: 145; Tanor et al., 2016: 780):
• Polluter pays principle
• Precautionary principle
• The principle of ecosystem integrity
• The principle of public participation in the development of policies plans and processes for the management of the environment
• The principle of inter-generation and intra-generational equity
Environment Impacts Assessments (EIA), Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA), and environmental audits, approving environmental statements and keeping a record of decisions (ROD) are useful in maintaining environmental accountability in Lesotho (Hipondoka et al., 2016: 208). Local authorities in the rural areas of Lesotho are expected to identify areas which need protection, whether it is forests, rangelands or water sources (Palframan, 2015: 537). In order to avoid degradation, local authorities are encouraged to practice environmental management by involving residents in deciding the sustainable use of resources (Marake and Molumeli, 2016: 82). Where necessary, reforestation and afforestation may be implemented in order to conserve or rehabilitate resources; provide protection of natural ecological systems and processes and the preservation of biodiversity in general (Desalegn et al., 2014: 411; Ogada., 2014: 11).
126.96.36.199 Lesotho National Parks Act, 1975 (implemented in 1987)
The Lesotho National Parks Act became operational in 1987 and was established for the protection of fauna and flora and national monuments and relics (Maro, 2011: 57). Setting aside land for this purpose involves the King on the advice of the Minister responsible for the maintenance of the Park, declaring such land for the purpose required (Khoalenyane and Ezeuduji, 2016: 448). Prosecutions and fines are implemented when domestic animals are illegally found in any Park (Lekaota., 2015: 456). Alien vegetation species introduced within any Park and found to be contravening the provisions of this Act are to be destroyed.
188.8.131.52 Land Act, 2009
Prior to the Land Act, 2009, the Land Act, 1979 was in place to guide land tenure in Lesotho. This section will present the content of Land Act, 2009 and revisions which have been made in order to improve the provisions of the Act towards land tenure for women and children in Lesotho (Fogelman and Bassett., 2016: 253). Land tenure subsequently impacts on the way biodiversity is used and managed and in Lesotho, this is determined in part by the land tenure laws (Mugomeri et al., 2016: 149).
The land act, 2010 was enacted to (Lesotho, 2010: 5):
…repeal and replace the law relating to land, provide for the grant of titles to land, the conversion of titles to land, the better securing of titles to land, the administration of land, the expropriation of land for public purposes, the grant of servitudes, the creation of land courts and the settlement of disputes relating to land; systematic regularisation and adjudication; and for connected purposes.
The Act was enacted to repeal the previous Land Act of 1979 which failed to respond to the country’s economic needs. The Land Act of 1979 lacked efficiency and was apparently costly to implement (Fogelman, 2016: 38). It was slow and it lacked transparency. This previous Land Act did not bring revenue to the state and the “end results are that registered land rights are not provided to the majority of citizens and this hampers investments and creates dysfunctional land markets” (Lesotho, 2010: 42). The majority of citizens included women who were treated as minors and could traditionally not hold any titles to land. Land Act, 2010 was therefore developed to ease the provision of infrastructure, fast-track land transactions through specialised land courts and this will also include equitable gender consideration in all land dealings (Shale, 2014: 101). Through research and a review of the current land policy in Lesotho, the current Act is expected to protect the vulnerable and promote the equal distribution and fair utilisation of land in Lesotho (Bruce and Knox, 2009: 1365). The veracity of this objective is, however, under question as the Land Act is viewed to be less “people friendly” than intended (Alden Wily, 2014: 232). Some of the instruments of the new Act include research to update land records to assist in faster and greater efficiency of land transactions (Thebe and Rakotje, 2013: 403). A division of the High Court, the Land Court in Lesotho has been established to resolve disputes concerning land (Tlale, 2014: 11).
184.108.40.206 Range Management and Grazing Regulations, 1980 (as amended)
The Range Management and Grazing Regulations regulations provide for the sustainable use of rangelands and grazing areas in Lesotho. It allows for the delegation of different land uses, particularly grazing land and agriculture to prevent the encroachment of one onto another. Local area chiefs have the power to designate grazing areas depending on how healthy or damaged an area is (Matlanyane, 2015: 1223). According to the regulations, the chief can determine stocking rates on any piece of land and together with agricultural officers enforce conditions of grazing determined for each grazing area (Pooley, 2014: 17). Each user is required, according to the regulations, to have a grazing permit allocated by the chief and this gives grazing rights until the permit expires and renewal is required (Moses, 2015: 16). Offenders of overstocking or grazing are punishable by law. According to the regulations, the total number of stock in the country will be proportional to the total grazing land available in the country and should these numbers exceed the set quota, action would be taken to take the numbers down to acceptable levels (Belle and Hlalele, 2015: 5).
The rehabilitation of rangelands in Lesotho is mandated within the rangeland and management policy for the sustainable use of resources (Matšela et al., 2015: 2280). The policy stipulates that the government shall undertake appropriate rehabilitation of degraded rangelands through sound strategies and ensure equitable access to resources (Marake and Molumeli, 2016: 90). Rehabilitation is still a fairly new strategy and much is still being researched about possible workable scenarios for southern African rangelands (Grundling et al., 2015: 5). Rehabilitation can, however, alter ecosystems, decrease biodiversity and alter the chemical composition of the soil in the rehabilitated areas (Hanke et al., 2013: 2). Policy and management strategies, therefore, have to take into consideration such issues.
220.127.116.11 Forestry Act, 1998 and National Forestry Policy, 2008
The role of the forestry officer is highly emphasised in the Forestry Act, 1998. Through keeping forestry inventory in the country, forestry officers hold the responsibility of advising owners of forests whether cooperative, private or community in sound forest use and management practices (Kabi et al., 2014: 54). The fire has been identified as one of the major challenges in keeping Lesotho forests intact while maintaining access to ecosystem services such as sustainable grazing and lawful extraction of forest resources and products (Robinson, 2014: 345). More recently, the forestry policy was developed in 2008. The objectives of this policy are (Lesotho, 2008: 10):
• To increase the area of land under tree cover (exotic and indigenous) established and owned by local people either individually or communally including business sector.
• To sensitise and educate the public on values, purposes and benefits of forestry.
• To develop forest resources and promote forest industries by encouraging small-scale enterprises (for example, beekeeping, wood sale, treated poles and crafts) in order to create employment, promote income generating activities, reduce imports and improve local skills and knowledge.
• To promote the use of trees in support of conservation and production of both arable agriculture and rangelands and in particular the use of trees and other woody shrubs to ensure soil conservation and improvement of water catchment areas.
• To achieve sustainable management of forest reserves in partnership with and for the benefit of local people.
• To protect forests and trees from unlawful utilisation or destruction.
• To safeguard the present extent of tree cover.
• To control the importation and introduction of exotic species which may pose the threat of outcompeting local indigenous species (alien and invasive species).
Forestry has largely been more successful than other land uses in Lesotho. Forestry management plans including those of beekeeping within the forestry division have been very effective in getting to communities.
18.104.22.168 Traditional Medicine Practice Act, 1998
Hundreds of plant and animal species are used as medicine in Lesotho and some more than others. The harvesting of these species has to be regulated in order to maintain sustenance and preservation of species for future generations (Mugomeri et al., 2016: 149). This has propelled the government of Lesotho to draw up the Traditional Medicine Act which is regulated through the established registered and recognised traditional doctors in the country. This, however, does not stop the illegal harvesting and selling of these species as medicines in towns (Kose et al., 2015: 192). “Traditional medicines, derived from herbs, bulbs and bark, are used extensively throughout Africa, but the gathering of plant materials is often complicated by questions of property and conservation” (Robbins and Bishop, 2008: 752). Street vendors who specialise in selling traditional medicine are conversant and sensitised about sustainable use of these medicines (Sekamane, 2015: 61). Livelihoods are maintained through both sales and utilisation of these plants and animals without compromising future supplies.
Plant products in the form of leaves, bark, fruits and roots are used as medicine. More importantly, plants whose roots are the main sources of medicines receive more protection as it is more probable for these to become extinct (Mugomeri et al., 2014: 39). Except for the spiral aloe (Aloe polyphylla) which are harvested and used in pharmaceutical products, not many plants in Lesotho are harvested by a big corporation for production (Wikle, 2015: 79). They are harvested by community members and traditional doctors for local use and distribution (Moyo et al., 2015: 599). With services provided by biodiversity such as medicines, “a direct link can be described with species richness and the presence of endangered species” (Schneiders et al., 2011: 134). There is, however, speculation that truckloads of harvested plants are regularly seen crossing the border into South Africa (Wynberg et al., 2015: 567), these species are said to include species such as larger tinsel flower (Alepidea amatymbica, lesoko), Urginea capitata (moretele o moholo), U. basutica Moretele o mofubelu), Pachycarpus ridigus and Phytolaica heptandra (poho-tšehla), Dicoma anamola, Teedia lucida (hloenya), including Aloe polyphylla (ATPS, 2013).
There have not been any clear indications of separation between the development of policies and their implementation. International conventions which Lesotho has ratified compel the government of Lesotho to develop policies which will respond to their responsibility in adhering to these conventions. Policy dialogue in Lesotho is greatly influenced by international conventions such as the MDGs, the CBD, the Ramsar Convention, the UNFCCC and the UNCCD (Bisaro, 2008: 2). These are aimed at addressing adaptation issues and continue to be sources of many development attempts in Lesotho. For example, the role played by wetlands as sources of livelihoods through mainly the provision of rangeland has sparked interest from donors and the government as a possible area for improvement (Bisaro, 2008: 2). The development of the Lesotho National Environmental Policy, 1998 and ultimately the Environment Act 10, 2008 were, for the most part, the product of Lesotho’s response to the CBD although during the time the convention was ratified Lesotho was already devastated by the unprecedented loss of biodiversity through over-harvesting and unfavourable weather conditions which included extended droughts and very heavy snowfalls (Lesotho, 2010: 32). The objective to protect biodiversity brought about not only the establishment of the Environment Act and policy but other supporting programmes which would also be used coherently with the policy to not only protect biodiversity but to improve food security as well. These included the Food Security Policy developed in 2005 (Lesotho, 2005: 22), environmental management programmes and institutional bodies such as the department of environmental affairs to ensure implementation of the environmental protection objectives. Conservation efforts in Lesotho have a rich history.
4.10 History of Rural Development and Conservation in Lesotho
Environmental degradation in Lesotho has reached immeasurable proportions ranking it as one of the most environmentally degraded countries in the world (Matarira et al., 2014: 280). Globally, Lesotho recorded at least two droughts in the period between 2000 and 2009 and is, therefore, facing severe soil erosion hazards (Heathcote, 2016: 2). Although environmental degradation is usually a result of biophysical processes such as soil erosion and desertification, the accelerated rate at which the environment degrades is traced directly to socio-economic and political issues (Amechi, 2009: 110). The discourse of conservation and development programmes in Lesotho is deeply rooted in the political climax of the country (International Monetary Fund (IMF), 2012: v). Governments, past and present, have decidedly allocated funds originally meant for conservation initiatives for development initiatives which are clearly meant to continue the campaigns and which barely benefit communities (Hitchcock et al., 2011: 1). Many biodiversity conservation projects fail in Lesotho (Nyirenda, 2015: 282). This failure has been attributed to a mismatch of community needs and government objectives which lead to a lack of continuity (Balsiger, 2014: 72). Lekaota (2015: 458) advocates for localised dialogue between community development and conservation needs as opposed to top-down management.
Lesotho’s national park development began in 1970 with the establishment of the globally famous Sehlabathebe National Park (Hampson, 2015: 375). The initial limitations to the establishment of parks related to issues of land tenure and land use, and top-down approaches which misplaced livestock owners from park areas with proper consultations and alternative grazing sites (Raditloaneng, 2015: 203). As it were, changes in land use compromised livelihood of livestock owners as they were now forced to graze their livestock in limited rangelands (Nyirenda, 2015: 284). The Tšehlanyane National Park, established in 2000 boast abundant flora and fauna (Wybenga, 2006: 85). Prior to its establishment, communities were consulted with the recognition that real benefits were a priority when livelihoods are disturbed and communities misplaced (Khoalenyane, 2010: 122). One of the main foci of the present study is to assess the perception of communities living in the villages surrounding the Tšehlanyane National Park towards the establishment of the Park and their current livelihoods.
Conflicts within or between rural communities and environmental management authorities in Lesotho are usually over access to resources (Rankoana, 2016: 3). In order to avoid conflict escalation, dispute resolution has to be mediated and all parties involved need to have full knowledge of environmental facts, thus opening channels for sharing of information and appreciation of all parties interests (Mwiturubani and Van Wyk, 2014: 48). These disputes are characterised into three major categories (Sibanda, 2003: 30): New issues or new parties introduced in the middle of proceeding negotiations; varying levels of authority and expertise in dispute resolution, implying that parties are equipped differently to deal with disputes, whether through power or financial advantage; and relationships are usually terminated after such disputes, thus introducing a lack of continuity and monitoring.
Issues of environmental conflicts in Lesotho have to be addressed through transparency and full coverage of both ecological and social issues (Moses, 2015: 16). The biophysical environment cannot be conserved in isolation from the socio-economic, cultural and economic issues of communities in Lesotho (Ryan, 2015: 241). Persistently, land use conflicts in Lesotho are responsible for the extensive degradation the country faces (Glass, 2015: 151). In Lesotho, major stakeholders in biodiversity conservation have been identified together with the ways in which they may or already affect the biodiversity and corrective measures that they may adopt to rectify whatever changes they bring about (Table 4.3).
Article 15 of the CBD states that the sovereign rights of states over their natural resources have to be recognised by its signatories and that the authority to determine access to genetic resources rests with the respective nations governments, subject to national legislation (Glowka., 1997: 250). Access to genetic resources for environmentally sound uses should be facilitated and restrictions that run counter to this objective should not be imposed (Roa et al., 2016: 634). Governments are recommended to enact national biodiversity legislation and industry should commit itself to voluntary codes of conduct to ensure sustainable development (Lallier et al., 2014: 613).
Table 4.3: List of stakeholders and their likely impacts on biodiversity (Lesotho, 1998: 4)
Stakeholder Biodiversity Concern Corrective measure
Pastoralists • Loss of vegetation cover and biodiversity
• Loss of farm animal genetics • Establishing Range Management areas with the genetic purity and performance of farm animals
Farmers • Loss of crop genetic diversity
• Land degradation and soil erosion • Catchment management and reduction of soil erosion by implementing appropriate land husbandry practices
Medicine-Men (traditional healers) • Loss of faunal and floral medicines due to overharvesting • Public education and awareness of values of biodiversity
• Home gardens for medicinal plants
Educators • Loss of Lesotho’s biodiversity and value to future generations to live and survive on
• Lack of public awareness of biodiversity • Public outreach in schools and home gardens
• Include biodiversity education in schools curriculum
Conservationists • Protecting the biodiversity of Lesotho especially the endangered and threatened species and ecosystems • Establishing wildlife reserves and biospheres in sensitive areas and according to the conscious of Basotho
Strict rules concerning the extraction of resources from such PAs exist to maintain order when accessing resources (Dunn et al., 2014: 138). The two theoretical frameworks proposed in this study reflect directly on the politics of ecology and stakeholder participation concerning the Tšehlanyane National Park and in part the Kotisephola Environmental Resources Management Area (ERMA). Removal of flora and fauna is strictly prohibited in the Tšehlanyane National Park while the power dynamics concerning ERMAs are work in progress. These problems emanate from a clear lack of institutional capacity to implement policies as will be shown in Chapter Five. Policy and legislature in Lesotho are evidently outdated and new institutions are still functioning on old legislature and policy documents.
Similar to other southern African countries, environmental degradation problems in Lesotho can be traced as far back as the colonial era. Conservation strategies were implemented as early as the 1950s but the handover from colonial authorities to the national government had technical and financial issues. Notwithstanding Lesotho’s biophysical characteristics, its socio-economic circumstances have led to the unprecedented loss of fauna and flora over the years. More than three-quarters of the mammal population has become extinct and natural vegetation has now been genetically modified extensively by invasive species from all over the world. Land use patterns have varied over the years, leading to land cover changes which barely support the livelihoods of rural Basotho. Diminished rangelands and unproductive agricultural fields have caused further unsustainable encroachment of land uses, pushing rural populations further into poverty.
Lesotho was a signatory to the MDGs and party to several MEAs, the country is engaging in policy changes and biodiversity conservation strategies to secure livelihoods and reduce poverty while attempting to increase development of rural Lesotho. Tourism (and eco-tourism specifically) are some of the major economic sectors in Lesotho in which rural populations are involved. With the appreciation that agriculture and livestock do not offer as much returns as the government would have hoped, it has been crucial that Lesotho engages in multilateral agreements in order to improve tourism and eco-tourism in rural Lesotho. Adaptation to various conservation strategies continues within the country expectantly searching for strategies which will be acceptable at all levels of governance.
Several policies have been enacted in Lesotho to respond to the need to protect biodiversity, forestry and water. Several programmes are in progress to address the issues of biodiversity loss and these are guided by some of these policies. Lack of capacity, coordination, monitoring and evaluation of some of these programmes ultimately lead to such programmes being ineffective. Biodiversity conservation is promoted in a number of policies and laws, but for those to be effective, countries such as Lesotho need an up-to-date cohesive legal and policy framework that draws together and focuses biodiversity conservation from different sectors. On-going research into conservation is essential if biodiversity is to be conserved in the long run.